"In March 2020, Bangladesh responded to the spread of the coronavirus by going into lockdown. This helped limit the spread of the virus, but by blocking or delaying the delivery of justice, it also threatened to expose those who were incarcerated to a disease that thrives in overcrowded conditions.

Many other countries have faced similar problems after going into lockdown, with backlogs of court cases clogging up justice systems and prisons proving to be petri dishes for COVID-19 outbreaks. But by implementing a system involving virtual courts and electronic bail applications, Bangladesh, whose prisons are among the world’s most crowded, has bucked the trend. Since the lockdown began it has released more than 60,000 adults from pre-trial detention and 700 children from custody. In one ten-day period, the justice system heard 33,000 bail applications and released 21,000 people on bail."

To read the Justice Champions of Change interview with Bangladeshi Supreme Court Judge Imman Ali, click here.