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Move to send list of expat cyber criminals to Interpol

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 10 October, 2021 12:00 AM
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Move to send list of expat cyber criminals to Interpol

The government has taken a move to send a list of expatriate cyber criminals, who are spreading anti-state propaganda through various social media platforms, to Interpol seeking necessary action.

The Police Headquarters and other organisations of the government are working to this effect.

The authorities are also considering legal steps in the country to prosecute those cyber criminals and confiscate their property.

A holistic action against such criminals in association with host countries is being considered.

Besides, experts recommended that the government compel Facebook and YouTube to establish their offices in Dhaka so that they can block and regulate contents locally.

The government high-ups and experts said the expatriate cyber criminals have already been identified and immediate legal action should be taken against them.

Talking to this correspondent, former Supreme Court Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik said some people are spreading anti-state propaganda on social media to tarnish the country’s image, obstruct socioeconomic development and destroy mills and industries.

“We’ve totally failed to stop the propaganda and remove the contents. The ministers and officials concerned are playing the role of mere silent spectators. The government needs to bring back the expatriate cyber criminals with the help of Interpol,” he said. Security analyst Maj Gen (retd) AK Mohammad Ali Sikder said criticising any government and launching anti-state propaganda are different things.

Appropriate action must be taken against the expatriate cyber criminals who are making derogatory statements against the War of Liberation, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and proclamation of independence. “It’s possible to sue the cyber criminals under the Digital Security Act and other laws for their anti-state contents. Had law enforcement agencies taken timely move, they would have filed 30-40 cases against each of the cyber criminals and submitted charge sheets to the court. If the cases had been filed, the court could issue warrants for the arrest of the criminals and the government could send the warrants to foreign missions. In such a situation, the expatriate cyber criminals would remain under pressure in the host countries,” he said.

If the expatriate cyber criminals are sued and tried in absentia, the count can order confiscation of their moveable and immoveable property, said the security analyst.

If their assets are confiscated, expatriate criminals will be deprived of various opportunities of Bangladesh they are currently enjoying, he added.

Maj Gen (retd) AK Mohammad Ali Sikder underscored the need for making people abetting and helping the expatriate criminals in spreading anti-state propaganda co-accused in the cases.

Prof Zia Rahman of the Department of Criminology at Dhaka University said the government should create international consensus and global movement against the expatriate cyber criminals.

“We should bring the cyber criminals to book for anti-state propaganda. We have to take holistic steps with the help of other countries. Counter-measures against the cyber criminals are imperative.”

Addressing a conference in the Police Headquarters recently, Md Masudur Rahman Bhuiyan, commissioner of Khulna Metropolitan Police, said cyber crimes are widespread at home and abroad. “Training should be imparted to police officials on the technology to detect the cyber criminals.”

At this stage, Inspector General of Police Dr Benazir Ahmed directed police supers and other officials concerned to monitor social media sites, including Facebook and YouTube, routinely.

Col KM Azad, additional director general of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), said the law enforcers are monitoring activities of expatriate cyber criminals who are spreading anti-state rumours.

Terming the process of bringing back the expatriate criminals difficult, he said, “We’re continuing various efforts, including seeking help of Interpol. Like other law enforcement agencies, RAB is determined to bring back the expatriate criminals and put them to justice,” he said.

Md Kamrul Ahsan, additional DIG of Criminal Investigation Department, said, “Drive against local cyber criminals spreading anti-state rumours continues. A good number of local criminals have been arrested. However, many of the expatriate cyber criminals are facing cases in DMP area and other parts of the country. The units concerned are active against the expatriate criminals. Process to bring them back through Interpol is underway.”

CID continues with its cyber patrolling apart from removing detrimental contents and blocking malicious sites with the help of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).

AIG Mir Abu Towhid said the Police Headquarters and other units of law enforcement agency are vigilant about the perpetrators of anti-state propaganda. CID sometimes removes social media contents which are harmful to the country, religion and communal harmony. However, police need help of BTRC and other organisations in this regard.

“We make counter-contents viral on the social media against those who are engaged in spreading anti-state propaganda. We also take legal action against them,” he said.

About action against expatriate cyber offenders, the AIG said the authorities have moved to take action against them. “The issuance of red notice through Interpol requires some procedure which is underway.”

BTRC Chairman Shyam Sunder Sikder said, “We can do nothing other than requesting Facebook, YouTube and other authorities to remove defamatory, provocative and other harmful contents.”

Sometimes Facebook and YouTube do not entertain the request, he said, adding that Bangladesh and other countries depend on the whims of social media authorities in removing malicious contents.

About the easiest way of removing social media contents, the BTRC chairman said the persons who upload the harmful pictures and write-ups can easily remove or delete those.

“We held a series of meetings with the authorities of Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms and urged them to establish offices in Dhaka. But they’re paying no heed to us.”

It may be mentioned that largest circulated vernacular daily the Bangladesh Pratidin has identified 15 expatriate cyber criminals and published a number of reports as to how they are spreading propaganda against Bangladesh, the Awami League government, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangabandhu and their family members.

They are also criticising the War of Liberation and serving the purpose of war criminals, BNP and its ally Jamaat-e-Islami and anti-state elements.