The International Crimes Tribunal yesterday charged three leaders of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, including lawmaker Hamidur Rahman Azad, with contempt of court for publicly making derogatory comments about the tribunal’s procedure.
Jamaat’s additional secretary general Selim Uddin and Rafiqul Islam Khan are the other two men charged.
Addressing a demonstration at Motijheel on February 4, Azad and Selim termed the tribunal “controversial” and “dubious.” They also said the judges needed to think before giving a verdict as their verdicts “could lead the country into a civil war.”
Rafiqul made similar remarks at a press conference the next day.
Justice Obaidul Hasan, Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and judge M Shahinur Islam of ICT-2 had given the trio several chances to explain themselves before charging them.
The tribunal rejected Selim’s written explanation yesterday because “the explanation was not satisfactory.”
The tribunal started contempt proceedings under Section 11(4) of the International Crimes Tribunal Act which regulates obstructing or abusing the tribunal’s process, disobeying its orders, influencing the case, or trying to bring the tribunal members into hatred or contempt.
If proven guilty, the tribunal may imprison the Jamaat leaders for up to one year, fine them up to Tk5,000 each, or both.
The tribunal set May 9 for further proceedings on the matter.
On March 6, the tribunal expressed dissatisfaction over the three Jamaat leaders’ remarks and ordered their arrest. It asked police to produce them before the tribunal on March 21.
Law enforcers arrested Selim, but are yet to bring in Azad and Rafiqul.
The tribunal ordered the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) and the inspector general of police to submit a progress report by April 10, following the police’s failure to arrest the two men. The DMP, in a written statement to the tribunal, admitted its failure in arresting the two Jamaat leaders.