Legal aid to poor jail inmates urged

Rights lawyers have called upon the government to provide more legal assistance to the poor inmates languishing in jails without trial.

They made the call as the country is set to observe the National Legal Aid Day 2023 today.

The government can create a mechanism so that every lawyer could be obliged to represent the poor in the courts, according to the lawyers.

The rights lawyers mentioned that many poor people were languishing in jails without trial after being accused of various crimes.

‘As per the law, every lawyer in developed countries needs to fight a certain number of cases in favor of poor people facing various criminal charges,’ said jurist Shahdeen Malik.

He said that every bar association should introduce such practice so every lawyer must take at least one case to represent the poor facing criminal cases.

Shahdeen said that in foreign countries free legal services were provided mostly to the poor people facing criminal cases.

He added that the citizens’ liberty would be curtailed if they were detained in jail for a long time.

Until April 2023, the National Legal Aid Services Organization provided legal assistance to 3.53 lakh people across the country since 2009, said a release issued by the law ministry on Thursday.

The release said that a total of 82, 588 disputes or cases were disposed of through the out-of-court settlements.

It mentioned that Tk 134.93 crore were realized and distributed to the victims in most dowry-related cases.

Rights lawyer ZI Khan Panna told New Age that donors increased funds to state-owned legal aid service providers as they are getting increased response from poor people.

The government is set to observe the national Legal Aid Day today.

Legal aid panel lawyer at Supreme Court Khurshid Alam Khan said that more skilled lawyers should be engaged in dealing with the cases of poor people so that they could be represented properly.

This year’s theme is to materialize the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s dream of opening doors of providing free legal aid services to the poor.

The law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministry will bring out a colorful procession in the capital from the Department of Registration in the capital at 10:00am to observe the day, said a release issued by the ministry on Thursday.

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