12:00 AM, January 30, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 30, 2013

Suranjit says sorry

War tribunal asks all to watch words

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Staff Correspondent

The International Crimes Tribunal-2 yesterday asked "responsible persons" to exercise restraint and be careful in making comments about a sub-judice matter.
The three-member tribunal headed by Justice Obaidul Hassan sounded the warning while disposing of a show-cause notice it earlier issued against Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta.
It, however, did not proceed against Suranjit, a minister without portfolio, since he had offered unconditional apology for his comments on war crimes trial on December 22.
The show-cause notice followed a December 23 report by Bangla daily Amar Desh, in which Suranjit was quoted as saying, "The next year is 2013. Verdicts [in cases] against 14 identified war criminals have already been prepared. Trial of these war criminals would be over anytime in 2013. Their death sentences will also be implemented. None will be able to resist it."
Suranjit was asked to explain his "imaginary comments" on verdicts in the cases pending with the tribunal.
During yesterday's hearing, Abdul Baset Majumder, a counsel for Suranjit, said his client's statements were distorted in the report.
Suranjit never meant to lower the image and dignity of the tribunal, said the lawyer, adding that the minister offered unconditional apology if any portion of his speech hurt the administration of justice.
The tribunal, in its order, said the alleged comments did not seem to be prejudicing the cases pending with the court but could cause people to develop a wrong perception about the trial procedure.
"However, a responsible person should be restrained and careful in making any such comment on a sub-judice matter…."
The court also said, “This tribunal legally expects that the responsible persons, especially those who are associated with the party in power, shall prove their prudence in future restraining themselves from foretelling imaginary result of the case and time limit for disposal of sub-judice matters, in the interest of upholding independence of the tribunal and fair justice.”
Earlier, the tribunal made similar observations while disposing of two contempt of court petitions against Awami League leaders Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury and Matia Chowdhury.
Meanwhile, the tribunal yesterday accepted a petition filed by the prosecution for permission to submit additional evidence in the case against Jamaat leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman.
The documents are -- two newspaper reports and a list of collaborators arrested in Dhaka after the Liberation War.
Bangla dailies Purbadesh and Dainik Bangla on December 31, 1971, published reports on arrests of 15 collaborators, naming Kamaruzzaman as one among them. Kamaruzzaman's name was also there on the collaborators' list prepared by detectives between 1972 and 1973, the prosecution said.
Meanwhile, the security of the international crimes tribunals has been tightened in the wake of Monday's violence by Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir to pressure the government to stop the war crimes trial.

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