The High Court has ordered the police to immediately release Md Arman, a saree craftsman of Dhaka’s Pallabi who has been in jail for five years as a convict despite being innocent

The court also ordered the police on Thursday to pay Arman Tk 2 million as compensation.

The panel of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Mohi Uddin Shamim passed the orders declaring the detention of Arman illegal and a violation of his basic rights.

The police have been given 30 days to pay the damages. The court ordered the inspector general of police to report within Feb 14.

It ordered the deputy inspector general of Police Bureau of Investigation to form a committee to find out how much responsible the four police officials were in the arrest and jailing of Arman. The committee has until Apr 11 to file its report.

The four policemen are Dadon Fokir, former OC of Pallabi Police Station, Md Sirajul Islam, former inspector of police’s Detective Branch, and sub-inspectors Nazrul Islam and Md Rasel.

The court ordered the commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police to withdraw the four to the police lines and give them less important jobs until the end of the investigation.

Nawroz Russell Chowdhury, a deputy attorney general who represented the state in the hearing, said they would appeal against compensation order as “the force cannot take liabilities for the action of of four policemen”.

Legal rights group Law and Life Foundation filed a writ petition in April last year after a newspaper reported that Arman had been wrongly jailed.

According to the report, the police arrested Shahabuddin, son of late Yasin alias Mohiuddin, for drug peddling in Pallabi in 2005. He later jumped the bail.

A tribunal sentenced him to 10 years in jail and issued an arrest warrant for him in 2012.

On Jan 27, 2016, a police team led by SI Russell arrested Arman when he was taking tea at a stall next to his home.

Arman was shown arrested as drug trader Shahabuddin only because their fathers’ names were the same, the report said.

The police did it either by mistake or deliberately in collusion with the convict, leading the real Shahabuddin to roam free and continue his drug business, the report said.

After initial hearing of the petition by the legal rights organisation, the High Court issued a set of rules asking why Arman should not be released and compensated.

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