Bid to delay trial: Shafique tells Turk minister

Law Minister Shafique Ahmed on Monday said the people who were against the trials of the war criminals and criminals who committed crimes against humanity were making desperate attempts to delay them.

During a meeting with former State Minister Lutfu Esengun of Turkey, he said the quarter had also appointed lobbyist in foreign countries.

Ahmed said, “Those who are against the trials are carrying out different propagandas to thwart the trials. To do this, they are also using different foreign organisations including the foreign media and International Bar Association by appointing lobbyist.”

“They are plotting to cause controversy over the tribunal (International Crimes Tribunal) by presenting information on a fake abduction of witnesses and publishing the former tribunal Chairman’s Skype conversation in a distorted manner,” he added.

The minister also said the trials of the collaborators who helped the Pakistan army during the Liberation War in 1971 and carried out crimes against humanity including mass murders, loot, arson, and rape were being held in line with the International War Crimes (Tribunal) Act, 1973.

The Law Minister’s remarks came on Monday when senior BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, standing trial on war crime charges, brought ‘contempt of tribunal’ charge against him over the alleged conversation between former International Crimes Tribunal-1 Chairman Justice Mohammad Nizamul Huq and a Brussels-based legal expert.

The application filed by his counsels Fakhrul Islam and Ahsanul Haq earlier on the day at the ICT-1 said it was ‘clear’ from the ‘Skype conversation’ between Huq and expert Ahmed Ziauddin that Law Minister Shafique Ahmed had ‘tried to influence’ the trial proceedings of the tribunal.

Pro-Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP lawyers demanded resignation of Justice Huq from the ICT-1 after the Bengalee Daily Amar Desh published the reported conversation with Ziauddin, an expert on international war crimes living in Brussels.

Nizamul Huq resigned on Dec 11 in the wake of controversies.

Later, the prosecution moved a contempt petition at the tribunal against Amar Desh for publishing the said conversations.

The reconstituted International Crimes Tribunal-2 on Dec 13 issued an injunction against the entire media to refrain from publishing or airing the leaked conversations.

Salauddin Quader is behind bars for his alleged involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the war.

Apart from him, the whole Jamaat top brass, 10 leaders in total, including the former and incumbent chiefs and another BNP leader are standing trial for the crimes they had allegedly committed against humanity during the war.

The three-judge ICT�1, set up to try these crimes, has already indicted former Jamaat chief Ghulam Azam on five charges, Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami for 16 charges, Jamaat executive council member Delwar Hossain Sayedee for 20 and Salauddin Quader for 23 charges.

Currently, Sayedee’s case is in the most advanced stage and is awaiting verdict, which the court said would require more deliberation.

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