Bangladesh man on remand for 16 years is released

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Mohammad Shipon outside the Dhaka court (November 2016)Image source, Channel 24/Masudur Rahman
Image caption,
Mohammad Shipon (above) has spent nearly all of the 21st Century in prison

The High Court in Bangladesh has ordered the release on bail of a man who has waited 16 years in jail for his murder trial to start.

Mohammad Shipon, now 41, was arrested in November 2000 for a murder he was accused of committing in 1994.

The court ordered that he should face trial within two months.

Lawyers say the plight of Mr Shipon came to public attention when a private TV station reported on his time spent inside a Dhaka prison.

Later a lawyer brought his predicament to the court's attention. It ordered the authorities to ensure that he would not be destitute on his release.

In July a 100-year-old woman was released after 20 years in prison on the High Court's intervention.

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report in June called on the Bangladeshi authorities to refrain from "arbitrarily arresting people without proper evidence of a crime".

Most of those detained are young men "located in areas the police suspect are harbouring [anti-government] militants", the HRW report said.

It said that some of those detained are made to pay bribes to secure their release, something which the rights organisation says is "a familiar pattern" across the country.