Saturday, February 4, 2012

18 Jan 2012: Detained researcher

The day was fixed for taking cognizance of offences alleged against kamaruzzaman and examination in chief of the next prosecution witness, number 15 in the trial of Dewlar Hossain Sayedee.

Before these issues were considered by the tribunal, Tajul Islam brought up what he called an 'unfortunate matter' to the attention of the Tribunal.
“My Lord, I am going to bring a very unfortunate matter before the attention of your Lordship. One of our research associates [his name is Zubaer] has been arrested by the police yesterday at 2 pm when he was photocopying documents in relation to the case Chief Prosecutor vs Golam Azam and others. He was in the police custody for the whole night. All 25,000–page documents have also been seized by the police. He was missing since yesterday and this morning I have come to know about it from one of my colleagues named Shishir Muhammad Munir. The said that the research associate is now detained at the New Market Police Station. He further informed me that he was taken into the custody of the detective branch of the police. I promptly approached the said police station, however, the duty officer said they arrested our research associate with confidential documents. Thus they refused to release him unless the Tribunal make such an order. They did not even give us back those documents as they claimed someone from the Tribunal had called them and gave the police information that such confidential documents were being copied at Nilkhet. Thus, my submission before the Tribunal is to give such an order the Tribunal may think fit in this regard.”
Tribunal Chairman Justice Nassim replied: “Well, in my opinion, the documents should not have been taken to public places like Nilkhet for photocopying as the documents contains severe confidential information. Such documents should be kept secret with utmost sincerity for the protection of the witnesses and victims; a lot of people’s safety depends on that.”

Justice ATM Zaheer then added,  “You should buy a photocopier at your chamber for copying such confidential documents as it is the matter of protection of witnesses and victims as well as confidentiality.”

In response, the defence counsel Tajul Islam said that “My Lord, the documents are of 25,000 pages. It is almost impossible to make copies of that without the help of professional photocopiers. And everyone knows that the Nilkhet area is the best place to get such service.”

The Tribunal Chaiman Justice Nassimul Haq then said that they would make an order to the Officer-in-Charge of the concerned police station in this regard.

Prosecutor Ziad al Malum interrupted and said that “The Tribunal should make such order to the Officer-in-Charge of the Newmarket police station to produce the detainee as well as the seized documents before the Tribunal. The Tribunal should seek explanation from the detainee as well as the Officer-in-Charge concerned before passing further orders in this regard. The Tribunal should also check whether any documents in missing or not so that if such documents leaks in future, the Tribunal take appropriate action against concerned person or authority.”

Prosecutor Zial al Malum further submitted that the prosecution should be given a chance to talk with the investigation officer/Officer-in-Charge of the Newmarket Police Station.

Defence counsel Tazul replied that it would be sufficient if the Tribunal summoned the Officer-in-Charge of the Newmarket Police Station.

Tribunal Chairman Justice Nassim then suggested the defence to make an application in this regard and then they will make such an order. One of the defence counsels instantly wrote a short written application and defence counsel Tazul Islam submitted it before the Tribunal. The Tribunal then made the following order in this regard:
“The defence counsel brought the matter before the attention the Tribunal that while one of his researchers of his research team went to photocopy some documents which was supplied by the prosecution as defence documents, the police of the Newmarket Police Station took the said researcher in their custody. The police told that they require an order from the Tribunal to release him as well as seized documents. Upon hearing the counsels, the Tribunal is pleased to make this order to the Officer-in-Charge of the Newmarket Police Station that the detainee and the documents be produced before the Tribunal by 1pm. The Tribunal will hear them afterwards.”
Justice Nassim further added that the order should be despatched to the concerned Officer-in-Charge as soon as possible because as per the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 the police are duty-bound to produce any detainee before a magistrate within 24 hours of his arrest.

Chairman Justice Nassimul Haq then ordered the bench clerk to call the next matter which related to the the tribunal taking cognisance of offences relating to Kamaruzzaman’cognisance.

Chairman Justice Nassimul Haq said to the defence lawyers that they were really sorry that they could not finish reading the formal charge and all other documents submitted by the prosecution yet. and that therefore they were giving a new date for the congisance hearing and this will be heard on 31st January 2012.”

Prosecutor Rana Das Gupta came to the dais and told the Tribunal that due to illness of the prosecution witness No. 15 Modhu Shudan Ghorami, the prosecution was unable to produce him before the Tribunal. He further explained that the Mr Ghorami is 80 years old now and he unwell today due to the long journey.

Tribunal Chairman Justice Nassimul Haq then asked whether he would be able to be produced  on Sunday (22.01.2012) and the Prosecutor  replied that he was not certain

The chairman then told the prosecution that they should bring the witness to Dhaka 7 days before his testimony.

Das Gupta replied that It would be better if you fix the date for producing the witness Rana Das Gupta on Monday instead of Sunday, and the defence counsel Mizanul Islam then suggested, that it would be better if you fix it on Tuesday.”

Tribunal Chairman Justice Nassim then adjourned this matter until Tuesday the 24th January 2012 and asked the prosecution to produce the said witness on that day.

The tribunal was adjourned

Detained researcher
The tribunal then sat again at 12:40.

At 12.30, the New Market Police station produced the detained person with his seized documents before the tirbunal. The name of the detained person was Md. Zobayer Alam. The officer in charge of The New Market Police Station was Mr. Mostafizur Rahman.

Justice N Haq: Mr. OC, tell us about the incident?

OC: We got information that, someone is photocopying the confidential documents regarding the Golam Azam’s case. The shop is under my area. The informant told us that, he was calling from the tribunal.

Justice AKM Zaheer: Maybe the incident happened because the documents are highly sensitive.

Justice N Haq: We won’t be going to that issue now. It was not in our contemplation that it could happen. Mr. Tajul Islam, you could have informed the Tribunal before sending someone to photocopy it in a public place likes Nilkhet. However, the documents are safe and that is the most important thing.

Adv. Tajul Islam: We did not even think that such an incident would happen. Can please tell us from where we can get professional services for photocopying such voluminous documents like that?

Prosecutor Ziad-Al-Malum: Defense could buy a photocopier or set up a photocopy lab in your office or chamber.

Adv. Tajul Islam: That is none of prosecution’s business.

Justice N Haq: The tribunal will be passing an order because the tribunal believes that the detention and the seizure of the documents may have been a misunderstanding. Moreover, the tribunal praises the police as they were just doing their duty.

And, further the tribunal directs the police to release the detained person effective immediately. However, the seized documents should be received by Adv. Tajul Islam.

Then the tribunal adjourned until next day.

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