Saturday, April 16, 2011

20 Feb 2011: Sayedee detention extension

On 15 February, as directed by the Tribunal (see blog), the investigation agency (through the prosecution) submitted its report concerning its investigation into alleged offences committed by Sayedee.

At the last hearing on 29 December, the prosecution was ordered 'to complete its investigation within 15 Feb 2011 and submit report. In case that failure to submit formal charges, then Tribunal will sit on 14 Feb and pass necessary orders considering an application for bail by accused.'

After portions of the submitted investigation report was read out in court, the Tribunal chair asked the prosecution, 'After gap of some time, there must be developments in the investigation. Show me the developments'

The prosecutor, Haider Ali read out a section of the investigation report.

The Tribunal then asked why there were no reports in relation to any of the General Diaries that had been mentioned in an earlier hearing by the prosecution suggesting that witnesses had been threatened.

The prosecution said that this was not part of their investigation.

The Tribunal chair said that 'We are trying to find out whether there has been any developments in the investigation or not.'

The prosecutor then said that 'We have collected some more papers and documentation.

The Tribunal chair then referred to Rule 8(1) of the Rules of Procedure and asked whether it was being complied with by the investigation agency. The Rule states that: 'The Investigation Officer shall maintain a Case Diary for each case in connection with the investigation mentioning its day to day progress until completion of such investigation.'

The Tribunal chairman said that the investigation reports have barely changed, and just lines at the end of the reports were changed. 'You have not submitted a formal charge. You just write this line and substitute it in the new petition. There must be a time for the investigation to end. This man has been in pre-trial custody for a long time.'

The Tribunal chairman then said to the prosecution. 'Six long months have passed away. You have to satisy us that there is a fair case. There is though no new evidence. Why does the investigation agency not produce evidence so that we can be satisfied. What is really going on. How far has the case developed.'

The prosecutor then said, 'The investigation agency is investigating the case'

Tajul Islam, for the defence, then got up and said, he was in a very peculiar situation as he had not been given a copy of the application filed by the prosecution. 'We don't know what they are praying for' he said. 'Not know reasons they they are giving' But they are praying for time, for reasons I don't know. the copy of the application must be given to us.'

The tribunal then said, that the application should be given to the defence.

Tajul Islam then made the following points:
- there has been no development in the investigation;
- earlier the prosecution had alleged that six General Diaries (GD) have been filed against Sayedee. But they have not given a copy of these. I can also report that nothing has been filed by the police in relation to these allegations.
- there is a procedure in other tribunals for accused to be given bail at the pre-trial stage, and clear that should not be detained for indefinite period
- the allegations against Sayedee are absolutely false
- after a case has been filed against Sayedee, he traveled to Saudia Arabia and came back. He never fled and has no intention of fleeing
- prosecution says it needs more and more time. Yes, they need more time to investigation, 1971 was 40 years ago, but should Sayedee remain in detention in this period.
- Sayedee will obey any conditions the Tribunal wants to impose for bail.
- willing to stay in Dhaka
- he is more than 70 years old, and is a sick man

The Tribunal Chairman then read out the following order:
The accused Sayedee has been presented in the Tribunal today by the authorities. He is present in the dock. The prosecution has submitted a report stating the progress of the investigation. In the report they have stated they could not complete the investigation which is going on and are perusing records which have been made available to them and were collected and as such they pray for further time to continue investigation and also to effect proper and effective investigation they have prayed for further extension of time. I have perused the report and let it be kept on record.

Mr S Haider Ali, learned prosecutor appeared for the prosecution, submitted that the investigation agency has collected many materials which supports the involvement of the accused in commission of the offences. The materials are being preserved. He submitted that to effect proper investigation detention of the accused be extended.

Mr Tajul Islam, the learned counsel appearing for the accused submitted that prosecution has not come with any materials to support detention of accused or any materials as to why formal charge is not being submitted although required by Tribunal to do so, and he has not been charged.

Tajul Islam further submitted that foreign laws relating to war crimes tribunals also support that in pre-trial stage a person shouldn't be detained for indefinite period and should be entitled to seek bail. Lastly, he submitted that accused is sick and is a senior politician and on this should be entitled to bail.

Mr Tajul Islam in support of his submission has not come with any application or any material about illness of accused.

However, upon hearing the learned prosecutor and accused we are of the view that case diary should be produced before us by Investigation Agency for our appraisal of the development of the investigation.

As such we direct the Investigation Agency to produce the case diary to the Tribunal on 15 March and this matter is adjourned until then. In the meantime the accused may take any step he is so advised.

The prison authorities are directed to produce Sayeed as per the directions.
It seems that the reason for an adjournment was to allow the investigation agency to produce the case diary for the Tribunal members to have a look. It remains unclear why it was necessary for the Tribunal to allow a month to pass to allow this to happen.

(please note that some further details will be added to this blog in the next week about the allegations against Sayedee contained in the investigation report, parts of which were read out in the Tribunal hearing.)

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