US Ambassador Dan W Mozena on Wednesday expressed deep concern over the issue of seeking contempt proceedings against Human Rights Watch.
The US envoy made the comment a day after prosecutors of International Crimes Tribunal filed a petition seeking contempt proceedings against the US-based human rights body for its report on the verdict in former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Ghulam Azam’s war crimes case.
He made the comments on the sideline of a briefing by visiting US Congressman Sander Levin held at Mozena’s Gulshan residence in the capital
The congressman is touring Bangladesh to assess the progress the country has made in ensuring worker safety since the suspension of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) on June 27.
“I want to share my deep concern that Bangladeshi prosecutors sought contempt rule against the Human Rights Watch,” he said.
“We believe organisations such as Human Rights Watch have a critical role to play around the world in promoting respect for the human rights,” he said.
On Friday, the New York-based rights body claimed that the trial of Ghulam Azam at the International Crimes Tribunal-1 had been “deeply flawed” and “it had not met the international standards”.
On Tuesday, a seven-member delegation of the prosecution submitted the petition to the registrar office of the International Crimes Tribunal.
In the petition, the prosecution urged the International Crimes Tribunal-1 to initiate the contempt proceedings against HRW Asia Director Brad Adams, its associate for the Asia Division Storm Tiv, and its board of directors.
Prosecutor Turin Afroz, a member of the delegation that filed the petition, said if proved, the accused would have to serve one year in jail or pay Tk 5,000 as fine or both.
After the publication of the HRW report, Tureen told The Daily Star that the case against Ghulam Azam was pending with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court and the HRW statement at this stage was tantamount to contempt of court.
She also claimed that the HRW was not accountable to anyone and by taking this advantage it was actually serving its donors.
On July 5, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 awarded Ghulam Azam 90 years’ jail finding him guilty in all five charges of crimes against humanity and genocide.
Ghulam Azam has appealed challenging the verdict while the state has also appealed against “inadequate” sentencing.