Journalists were present to hear the court pass an order following an application by the prosecutor Haider Ali to take action against the newspaper Amar Desh that had published private conversations between the Tribunal chairman and a Belgium Based law academic, Ziauddin Ahmed. These are assumed to be the same conversations that are in the hands of the Economist magazine which in an article last week described them as raising serious concerns about the workings of the tribunal.
No order was given, but Justice Jehangir made a personal statement in court (see comments at bottom). these were in response to a section of the conversations published in Amar Desh where the chairman criticized Justice Jehangir for being 'corrupt', and also referring to him using an unflattering nickname.
He spoke in Bangla. Below is a translation of what he said, though there may be some omissions.
Haider Ali presented the news in front of us and he is not here today, and since we have a fee more queries to ask him and would be better if he was here since he placed here. Frankly let me make a few words here. What has been published there is something about me too, and it is very difficult to speak about them. Now what seems to me is that no one has a clear impression about who I am. I believe before speaking or writing about anyone they should know first about the person who they are speaking about. Also this is so dictated by our religion, Islam says that should not speak ill about anyone without knowing the exact details, but this is what so called wise people seem to like to do these days.
In my private life I have come here through a strong struggle and I understand that it will be so. My path has not been easy and still it will be difficult even in future.
I have never tried to gain any benefits from my political acquaintances. I have never behaved badly with anyone in my professional life, but when people say lies about me, 100% lies about me, sometimes I came a bit perplexed, but I am never frustrated, because a lie is a lie and the truth will come out sooner or later. I have been given the responsibility of a great job, it is a huge responsibility and I am grateful to Allah and also to journalists who have recorded my cases when I used to be a lawyer in the high court and this much focus on my reports has never really gone down well with those who speak ill of me.
Whatever I have been I have been honest. I am honest and will for the test of my life be honest
The Amar Desh's editor Anti Corruption Case had come to my court when I was a second judge in the High Court and if I had reached a decision that was beyond my oath my judgement it would have been different. My judgement would not have been in favor of his appeal for a stay order, but I still gave it to him.
The only thing I can say, he could have printed the material without such a big head line with my name in. He could have done with me in such a big headline. That is all I will say about it
I want to say something here I wasn't putting ash on the mouth of people who speak ill of others. My name is Jehangir Hossain, my certificate says Jehangir Hossain, when I was appointed it was Justice Jehangir Hossain and only Jehangir Hossain.
Since the chairman is ill today we believe he should give the order, and since we do not know whether he will come tomorrow, so we fix the date the day after tomorrow.Comments
1. It is effectively a rebuke to the chairman.
2. It is interesting to note that he did not criticize the newspaper for publishing the article, only for printing his name in the headline.