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Dhaka Tribune

Order on contempt of HRW July 15

Update : 25 May 2014, 08:33 PM

The war crimes tribunal will pass order whether to draw contempt proceedings against New York-based Human Rights Watch on July 15. 

Prosecutors Zead-al-Malum, Tureen Afroz and Tapas Kanti Baul took part in the hearing at the International Crimes Tribunal 1 yesterday and pleaded for the initiating of contempt proceedings. 

They said while the appeals case was pending before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, the HRW ran a “scandalising” report with bias and malafide intention.

On September 2 last year, the tribunal issued a notice upon the rights body and two of its officials, asking as to why proceedings should not be drawn against them for contempt of court. The prosecution filed a petition against the organisation for making “biased, baseless, utterly false, fabricated and ill-motivated” allegations in its report – published on August 16 last year – regarding the trial of convicted Jamaat-e-Islami chief Ghulam Azam.

Md Asaduzzaman, counsel for the defendants, apologised for his clients, stating, “As the defendants are citizens of foreign countries, they do not have any knowledge of the contempt law and proceedings of this country.” 

The tribunal then said: “It seems your client has much knowledge on various things, but only lacks information about the contempt law.” 

Though Asad apologised, the defendants did not mention it in their replies. The tribunal said: “Your reply and submissions are also contradictory.” The counsel claimed that the HRW had never supported the role of Jamaat during the Liberation War and that it never published any one-sided report. 

Prosecutor Tureen, however, argued that the article put on their website “can and will be held for contempt of court in any country.” She said: “Offence can take place anywhere but when it is on the internet then it has impact everywhere and can be recognised and considered under territorial jurisdiction.” 

Referring to international human rights laws, Tureen said the international laws also did not allow them to comment on any subjudice matter. 

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