WAR TRIAL COMMENTS Explain comments by Oct 21, ICT asks Mahbub

A special tribunal on Sunday asked BNP chairperson’s adviser Khandaker Mahbub Hossain to explain by October 21 why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him for his recent comment on war crimes trial.
Following the verdict of BNP lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury on October 1, Mahbub, also the vice-chairman of Bangladesh Bar Council, said that if voted to power, his party would try those involved in the trial.

This October 1 photo shows pro-BNP senior lawyer Khandaker Mahbub Hossain (L) looks on while his party lawyer Barrister Rafiqul Islam Mia was speaking at a press briefing of Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum, a platform of the pro-BNP lawyers, in the Supreme Court conference room.

The International Crimes Tribunal-1 awarded death penalty to Chowdhury, also a BNP standing committee member, for committing crimes against humanity and genocide during the Liberation War in 1971.
The three-member tribunal came up with the show cause notice on Sunday after holding hearing on an appeal of the prosecution seeking contempt of court proceedings against Mahbub.
The tribunal led by Justice ATM Fazle Kabir however considering Mahbub’s status exempted him from personal appearance and fixed October 21 for passing further order on the issue.
The prosecution on Thursday filed the petition against Mahbub saying that his (Mahbub) comment is tantamount to the contempt of court.
After a hearing on that day, the tribunal fixed Sunday for giving its decision on whether it would serve a show-cause notice on Mahbub.
The prosecution on the same day submitted copies of four dailies — the Prothom Alo, Janakantha, Bangladesh Pratidin and Kaler Kantho — which published Mahbub’s comments.
The petition also said the Prothom Alo quoted Mahbub as saying, “If the nationalist force comes to power, they will try those who are war criminals in the real sense. Those who were tried out of vengeance and the cases which were prepared on the basis of fairytale must go. And those who were involved in the farcical trial, Inshallah [if Allah wishes], they will also be tried on the soil of Bangladesh.”
Moving the petition, Prosecutor Zead Al Malum said Mahbub made the remarks at a press conference of Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum, an organisation of pro-BNP lawyers.
These were intended to taint the tribunal and its trial process, and to undermine the confidence of people in the integrity of the tribunal, he added.
He said the comments were made also to threaten the security of all the related parties including the chief Justice, judges of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, the tribunal judges, members of both the defence and prosecution, officials of the tribunal registrar’s  office, investigators, witnesses, victims and journalists of the electronic and print media covering the trial.
“Such statements are bound to create doubts about all proceedings of the tribunal and smooth functioning of a free and fair judicial system,” the prosecutor added.
Mahbub was one of the public prosecutors at a Special Tribunal that in the early 1970s conducted the trial of collaborators of the Pakistan army under the Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunal) Order, 1972.
Forty years later, he became a lawyer for war criminal Jamaat-e-Islami leaders Delawar Hossain Sayedee and Abdul Quader Mollah.
Earlier on June 9, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 sentenced Jamaat lawmaker Hamidur Rahman Azad and acting secretary general of the party Rafiqul Islam Khan to three months’ imprisonment and fined each of them Tk 3,000, as they were found guilty of contempt of court. They had made derogatory and provocative remarks about the tribunals and the ongoing trials.

Source: The Daily Star

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