Sunday, February 17, 2013

3 Dec 2012: Molla adjournment and police claim

Following on from the previous day's proceedings in the Mollah trial, the tribunal started with the defense counsel seeking an adjournment. The tribunal said that if the defense fails to produce the final two witnesses on the following day then the tribunal will close the defense case.

Tajul Islam then brought to the attention of the court an article in Amar Desh with the heading –“Police of the Detective Branch search the house of Quader Molla’s Defence counsel at Dhanmondi”

This stated that on the 2nd December a team of Detective Brunch went to the house of Shazzad Ali Chowdhury situated at Dhanmondi, Dhaka; that at 11PM when he was returning from his legal chambers, he saw 2 detective branch vehicles in front of his house, and his friends also told him that some police personel with civil dress were asking about him and about his arrival and departure time to them and to the inhabitants of the building. At the same time some police persons cordoned the building and they were not allowing any one to leave the building and to enter in to the premises of the building. The article said that on being informed about this situation Shazzad Ali Chowdhury left the area and stayed somewhere else.

Tajul Islam said that if the police harass the defence counsel in this way how they will be able to undertake their work properly

The tribunal suggested that the police may be performing their regular responsibilities and how does one know that this related to the tribunal?

Tajul Islam replied that this had never happened before but that after producing a prosecution witness as a defence witness (Sahara) the detective branch went to search his house. 'Does this not give a clear picture about what was going on?' 

The following exchange (which may not be word for word, but is otherwise accurate) took place

Justice Shahinur: you may go to Human Right Watch.

Tajul Islam: Why should we go the Human Right Watch? There is la, there is court, and there is  constitution in our county to ensure the rights of the people.

Justice Shahinur:  this lawyer is enrolled at bar counsel and in the tribunal. Why he did not face the police ?

Tajul Islam: Why he will not take the risk? There has a lot of example about the how the police act. In my office a team of detective branch went few days ago. But they are denying it. If something happens who will take the responsibility?

The Tribunal said that the defense could apply to the court with an application.

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