Two TV stations cautioned
Published: 2013-01-13 08:25:04.0 BdST Updated: 2013-01-13 15:56:52.0 BdST
The first war crimes tribunal of Bangladesh on Sunday ordered two television stations to stop airing programmes dealing with matters pending judgement.
Set up to try crimes against humanity during the nation’s War of Independence in 1971, the three-judge International Crimes Tribunal-1 had heard an application last week praying for action against the Bangladesh Television and private channel ATN News.
Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee had filed the application citing reports in these channels that presumed his guilt.
The tribunal began hearing on Sunday the closing arguments of Sayedee’s case starting with the prosecution. The hearing will continue through the week.
Sayedee had alleged in the application that the television reports had prejudiced his case. But the prosecution had argued that the media reports should not even be taken into cognisance.
The court observed that no one was “legally entitled to make comments about sub judice matters” and directed the television stations to “refrain themselves from airing such programmes”.
In another order, the tribunal allowed former Jamaat chief Ghulam Azam’s defence to submit additional evidence as exhibits.
That would have allowed presenting evidence regarding Shiraj Shikdar’s murder in 1975 when the first Awami League government was in power and the nation’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was heading it as the President.
Newspapers had been barred from reporting the murder of the radical revolutionary who was apparently killed in police custody.
But the ICT-1 ruled against this , saying this was not relevant to the charges against Ghulam Azam and would thus not be allowed as an exhibit.
Jamaat’s chief defence counsel Abdur Razzaq was the first to go up before the tribunal praying that in the interest of justice the judges hold off proceedings until three review applications had been disposed of.
The applications relate to the ICT’s Jan 3 rejection of retrial applications for Azam, Sayedee and current Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami.
Chairman Justice Fazle Kabir said that the proceedings would not be deferred because of the review applications.
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