Law minister questions intention

Law Minister Shafique Ahmed yesterday questioned the intention of some Turkish politicians who recently visited Dhaka and the international crimes tribunal.

“It seems they came here being influenced by someone,” Shafique told BBC Bangla Service.

The 14-member Turkish team visited and observed the proceedings of an ongoing trial at the tribunal Monday.

They also discussed with different quarters the trial proceedings being held for crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War, reported the BBC Bangla Service.

The Turkish team stayed in Dhaka for five days and had meetings with the law minister, an adviser to the prime minister and a top leader of the opposition BNP.

Besides observing the tribunal, they had talks with the prosecution and the defence counsels of the crimes against humanity cases.

An official of the home ministry said the Turkish team did not inform them about their visit and they had obtained on-arrival visas at Shahjalal International Airport.

The law minister yesterday said the team introduced themselves to him as lawyers. He later learnt that one of them was an incumbent lawmaker while another was former state minister of Turkey.

Shafique said, “They told me they are lawyers. A woman said she is an international lawyer. It seemed they were representing Islamic Brotherhood and that they came to the country on behalf of the government of Turkey.”

“I told them that lobbyist had been appointed [by the accused and suspects]. The accused spent a huge amount of money abroad. Therefore, influenced by them if someone came from abroad or made derogatory remarks about the trials, it would be tantamount to interference in the internal matters of the country,” he said.

Shafique said the team asked him many questions including why the trials were being held after 40 years and whether impartiality would be maintained.

He said, “I told them the trial is not being held for political purpose… People who were found involved in crimes against humanity by the investigation were facing trial.”

The Turkish ambassador was also present in the meeting.

An official of the foreign ministry said they would seek an explanation about the team’s visit from the Turkish embassy.

While visiting the tribunal, the team also introduced themselves as lawyers.

Sources said the team visited International Crimes Tribunal-1 on Monday when the hearing on the petition seeking retrial of Ghulam Azam’s case was being heard.

They went into the courtroom around 11:30am and left around 1:00pm

Source: The Daily Star

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