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
Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee had filed the
application citing reports in these channels that presumed his guilt.
tribunal began hearing on Sunday the closing arguments of Sayedee’s case
starting with the prosecution. The hearing will continue through the
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
In another order, the tribunal allowed former Jamaat chief
Ghulam Azam’s defence to submit additional evidence as exhibits.
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
Newspapers had been barred from reporting the murder of the
radical revolutionary who was apparently killed in police custody.
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.
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