Below is a summarized version of that conversation.
Mizanul Islam, for the defense, then told the tribunal that they were filing an application for adjournment for one week so that we can call safe house witnesses.
The chairman said that they were not allowing any adjournment. I think you have misunderstood our order yesterday about the safe house witnesses - we did not allow you to bring them as DW. Islam stated that he understood that the defense may bring them as defense witnesses though you will not issue any summons for them.
The chairman said that the defense had to seek prosecutor’s permission in order to get an safe house officials to come. According section 8(1) they are supposed to assist the Prosecutors. Without their permission they cannot be made a defense witness. Islam said that the tribunal has limited the number of witness to 20. We have already examined 12 DWs. You are requiring us to bring the safe house witnesses within the remaining 8 DWs. We are asking for this very short adjournment so that we can try to arrange these persons as our witnesses.
The chairman said that the defense should remember that it will not issue any summons for these people. We have observed in our yesterday’s order that they are not necessary witnesses for this purpose. If there is a separate proceeding against them in this issue then only they can be relevant witnesses for such proceeding.
Islam said that they are very relevant witnesses for this trial. This is why we have filed the application for adjournment for one week so that we can try to bring these persons as our witnesses. The chairman said that the defense could have filed the application a long ago and claimed that the lawyers have deliberately made this application at this last stage so that the defence can delay the proceeding on this issue. It is an ulterior motive of the defence. But take it from us we will not adjourn.
Islam said that it is not correct that we had ulterior motive . Earlier we applied to call these 38 Safe House staffs/officials as Court Witnesses . You did not reject that application at that time and ordered to ‘kept it on record’. At that time you told us that that application might be considered during the defence case. But we have seen that your are not passing any order on that earlier application. In these circumstances we had no other option but to come up with this application to call those persons as defense witnesses. Had you rejected our earlier application to call these persons as CW, we could have filed this application to call them as DW at that time.
Another judge said that the tribunal did not know what will be our final adjudication. But you cannot delay the tribunal proceeding for unnecessary adjournment. Islam said but you should allow us reasonable opportunity to bring them as DW. Our earlier application to call them as court witnesses was not disposed of at that time. We waited half way into the defence case but the tribunal did not pass any order on that application. Now we need adjournment to try and bring these persons as defense witnesses. Moreover the police visited last evening in my chamber. The other DWs are not coming to us to avoid harassment from police.
Haider Ali, for the prosecution said that this matter has already been settled. The defence is always praying for adjournment saying that they have not got insufficient time. It is not true. They are saying that the prosecution has got 9 months and the DWs are getting one month. In fact the defence made lengthy cross examination on the prosecution witnesses. This caused delay in closing the prosecution case. So those time should be considered to be part of the defence case. In this way the defence got more time than the prosecution. They got sufficient time to select their 20 DWs. Now they cannot take more time.
Islam responded that our application for them to be court witnesses was not disposed of so how we could have inserted the names of the Safe House Staffs/Officials as defence witnesses. Chairman said that we are not ready to allow adjournment. We always said that we want to do justice to the accused. We are always careful about his rights. This is why we are giving one day adjournment. The next date of the case is Sunday. The defence should bring its witnesses on that day.
Islam said that it was not practical for them to bring the staffs/officials of safe house by Sunday. The chairman said that if the defense didn't take the adjournment then the tribunal will fix this case for tomorrow. We cannot delay. We have some calculations. Islam said your only calculation should be to do justice.
The Tribunal was adjourned till 2 P.M.