14 apologise to ICT, 10 to defend Bergman verdict statement

Fourteen out 50 noted citizens on Tuesday apologised unconditionally before the International Crimes Tribunal-2 that deals with the cases of 1971 war crimes, for making a joint statement voicing concern over its judgment punishing British-origin journalist David Bergman for contempt of court.
Those apologised are rights activist Dr Shahdeen Malik, Sujan president Hafizuddin Khan and its general secretary Dr Badiul Alam Majumder, a former caretaker government adviser Rasheda K Chowdhury, Prof Imtiaz Ahmed of Dhaka University, Amena Mohsin, Prof Asif Nazrul, Dr Naila Zaman Khan of Bangladesh Shishu Bikash Kendra, Dr Shahnaz Huda, Syeda Rizwana Hassan of Bela, Zakir Hossain, singer Arup Rahi, Shahin Akhtar and Ilira Dewan.
After submitting their explanations over the impugned statement before the tribunal, Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury of Ganosasthaya Kendra, and nine others, informed the tribunal that they want to appear before it to justify their stance as they deem their statement did not carry any element of contempt of court.Besides, in compliance with the tribunal’s order, the 11 other signatories, now staying abroad, sent applications through emails seeking time for homework for their replies.
Turning down the plea, the tribunal headed by Justice Obaidul Hassan asked them to submit their replies through the due process of law, fixing February 8 the next date of hearing.
On January 14, the tribunal asked 49 noted citizens to explain either appearing in person or through lawyers on the signed statement expressing concern over its judgment punishing British-origin journalist David Bergman for contempt of court.
On December 2 last year, the tribunal after a lengthy hearing convicted David Bergman, also son in-law of noted jurist Dr Kamal Hossain, president of Gono Forum and a former minister, and sentenced him to a symbolic jail term with a fine and accordingly the convict-contemnor served the sentence and paid the fine.
On December 20 last year, the Prothom Alo, a vernacular daily, published the statement titled, ‘50 citizens express concern punishing Bergman’. Later, Khushi Kabir, one of the signatories, retracted her name from the impugned statement.
A week after the publication of the statement, the tribunal on its own motion, asked the Prothom Alo editor to submit before it a copy of the full text of the statement over its judgment against David Bergman, now working at the daily New Age here, for writing contemptuous articles interfering with the judicial authority. – UNB