Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Defence lawyers seeks ICT chairman resignation

For the purposes of comprehensiveness (and not because this blog supports its contents) posted below is the statement of Barrister Abdur Razzaq, the head of the ICT defense team given at the Bar Council premises on Monday, December 10th. Another statement was given by the vice-president of the Bar Council and this statement will be placed on this page later.

This statement was made the day before Justice Nassim resigned
Statement of the Defence in view of the revelations made in the Economist and Daily Amar Desh.

On 9 December, 2012, at about 12.15 in the morning (BST) the Economist published a report in its “Banyan” section stating that it had in its possession 17 hours of Skype conversations between the Chairman of the Tribunal-1 and Dr. Ahmed Ziauddin (a campaigner for the present trials) together with 230 emails. The Economist commented that these if genuine, would raise questions about the workings of the Tribunal.

On the same day the Daily Amar Desh published a selection of the Skype conversations. These conversations contain statements which damage the integrity of the Tribunal and include the following:-

1. The Chairman is discussing the contents and fate of the case with an outsider and taking extensive assistance from him.

2. The Chairman is telling Dr Ziauddin that the Government needs a judgment by December, 2012 and that he can prepare Allama Delwar Hossain Sayedee’s judgment by such date;

3. Dr. Ziauddin is drafting a rough sketch and structure of the Judgment for the Tribunal in the case against Allama Delwar Hossain Sayedee even before commencement of arguments.

4. The Chairman deciding with Dr. Ziauddin the order in which the cases should be disposed of.

5. The Chairman terming his brother Judge as having been corrupt and referring to him by a derogatory nickname.

Today, the Amar Desh published further conversations in which the Chairman and Prosecution is reported to have engaged in mock displays of arguments between them to give the impression that he does not favour the Prosecution. Dr Ziauddin is also reported to have been assisting both the Prosecution and the Chairman. Audio versions of the Skype conversations are now widely available in the internet.

The reported conversations have serious implications for the on-going trials. So far we have no reason to believe that the Skype conversations are fabricated. We are fortified in this belief, by the statements of the State Minister of Law to the BBC yesterday in which he admitted the conversations. Moreover, Dr. Ziauddin declined to comment to the BBC. The Tribunal and the Prosecution are not making any comments on the authenticity of the conversations despite their serious nature. Most revealing is the admission by the Tribunal-1 in its Order dated 6 December that such conversations indeed took place.

The above disclosures made on 9 and 10 December have seriously undermined the integrity of the entire trial process. We doubt whether the process will ever regain its credibility. The only honourable option open for the Chairman is for him to resign. This will not only be in the interests of the trial but also of the Judiciary, whom we believe he has single-handedly undermined.

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