Bangladesh Cyber Tribunal Judge KM Shamsul Alam, however, acquitted two other prime accused – Salauddin’s wife Farhat Quader Chowdhury and son Hummam Quader Chowdhury – as the “prosecution failed to prove the charge [of financing the theft] against them,” it said.
All the accused but Hummam were present in court during delivery of the brief judgement. Hummam was allegedly picked up by plainclothes police from near the court on August 4.
After yesterday’s verdict, special public prosecutor Md Nazrul Islam Shamim said that they were somewhat happy with the judgement, but expected conviction of all the accused.
The tribunal sentenced Salauddin’s lawyer barrister Fakhrul Islam to 10 years in prison and slapped a Tk1 crore fine for masterminding the act of theft.
Four other accused – Salauddin’s manager Mahbubul Ahsan, Fakhrul’s assistant Mehedi Hasan, and former office staff of the war crimes tribunal Faruk Hossain and Nayan Ali – have been handed down seven years’ imprisonment and fined Tk10,000 each. They will have to serve six months’ additional jail term if they fail to pay the fines.
Of the convicts, Mehedi is on the run since the filing of the case on October 2, 2013. Nayan, a cleaner, and Faruk, a stenographer of the tribunal registrar office, were arrested on October 5 the same year. The duo were later suspended.
DB arrested Fakhrul in connection with the leak around two months after the incident.
Former lawmaker from Chittagong’s Raozan, Salauddin was executed at the Dhaka Central Jail on November 22 last year on completion of his legal battle in the war crimes case. He was given death penalty for killing Nutan Chandra Singha and orchestrating three other genocides during the 1971 Liberation War.
According to the case, Salauddin’s family spent a large sum of money to steal the draft verdict of his war crimes case from the tribunal chairman’s computer ahead of the judgement and upload it on different websites to make the trial process controversial.
Salauddin’s wife and son hatched conspiracy and instigated the leak while Fakhrul facilitated it. Mehedi, Mahbubul, Faruk and Nayan were directly involved in the crime, according to the charge sheet.
On October, 1, 2013, shortly after the pronouncement of the verdict in Salauddin’s war crimes case, his family members and defence counsels told the tribunal that the verdict had already been available on a few websites. They also claimed that the judgement was dictated by the government as it had been written in the Law Ministry.
On October 2, the war crimes tribunal registrar filed a general diary with Shahbagh police over the leak. After primary investigation, DB police filed a case under the Information and Communication Technology Act on October 4.
Nayan in his confession on October 10 said that he had begun delivering bits of the draft copy in a flash drive to Fakhrul’s office at Kakrail on September 15, 2013. He got Tk500-1,000 every day for the work. Family members of Salauddin took the bits of the draft every day, Nayan said.
He, however, claimed that he had been unaware of the data contents until September 25. The following day when he declined to deliver the data, Fakhrul and Mehedi threatened him with life.
DB police submitted the charges on August 28, 2014, but the indictment hearing was deferred a dozen times due to filing of time petitions by the defence.
After the accused were indicted on February 15 this year, the
special tribunal recorded the statements of 21 out of 25 prosecution witnesses. It had to defer the verdict date several times for different reasons.