The International Crimes Tribunal-2 yesterday directed the police to ensure security of the chamber of a defence counsel of detained Jamaat-e-Islami leaders accused in war crimes cases.
The three-member tribunal led by Justice ATM Fazle Kabir with members Justice Obaidul Hassan and Judge M Shahinur Islam issued the directive following a petition of the defence.
On October 10, Abdur Razzaq, chief of the defence, told the tribunal some plainclothes law enforcers had entered the chamber of Tajul Islam, a senior member of his team, at Paltan and interrogated lawyers present there the previous day.
As the tribunal asked the defence to file a written petition, they placed it on October 14 seeking the court's intervention to â€œstop harassment by the law enforcersâ€.
Following the petition, the tribunal directed the Dhaka Metropolitan Police and Paltan Model Police Station to submit reports in this regard.
Justice Kabir yesterday said they had received two separate reports from the DMP and Paltan police that said no members of law-enforcement agency went to Tajul's chamber that day.
The tribunal, however, directed the police to remain alert about the lawyer's chamber to avoid any untoward incident.
Yesterday was fixed for recording testimony of the fourth defence witness against Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah, but Tajul Islam said they could not produce the witness due to illness of a relative of the witness.
â€œWe have asked you [the defence] to produce two defence witnesses today [Thursday],â€ said Justice Kabir.
â€œCouldn't you produce anyone?â€ asked Justice Hassan.
Tajul said they were facing different problems, as their witnesses were being â€œintimidatedâ€.
â€œWe have asked you to give us a list of your witnesses so that we could ensure their security. But you did not submit the list and now you did not produce your witnesses. What can we do now?â€ said Justice Hassan.
â€œWe will produce witness on Sunday,â€ said Tajul.
The tribunal fixed Sunday for the case proceeding.
KAMARUZZAMAN AND MOJAHEED'S CASES
The tribunal completed recording cross-examination of Majibar Rahman Khan Panu, 14th prosecution witness in the case against Jamaat leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and adjourned the proceeding until December 4.
The tribunal also completed recording cross-examination of Ranjit Kumar Nath alias Babu Nath, seventh prosecution witness in the case against Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mojaheed before adjourning the case proceeding until December 5.
War crimes accused Jamaat leaders' counsels yesterday questioned the credibility of the investigation officer (IO) of the case against Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee.
Defence counsel Abdur Razzaq said if IO Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Helal Uddin was proved as unreliable, statements of the 15 â€œabsentee witnessesâ€ which were accepted as testimony by the tribunal under section 19 (2) of the International Crimes [Tribunals] Act, 1973 could also be proved fake.
The prosecution was supposed to have 68 witnesses testified against Sayedee. However, on March 20, they said they could not produce 46 witnesses as the witnesses were either very sick or missing. The prosecution asked the court to accept the witnesses' statements to the IO as depositions before the court.
The tribunal on March 29 accepted the statements of 15 prosecution witnesses, out of the 46, as evidence against Sayedee.
The proceeding of the case was adjourned until Sunday when the defence are set to continue with placing their arguments.
Prosecutor Syed Haidar Ali said he would place arguments again as some new matters had come up in the defence argument.