The International Crimes Tribunal-2 yesterday ordered the police to arrest three top Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and produce them before the court for “deliberately avoiding” appearance before the tribunal in connection with a contempt of court ruling.
The court directed the police to arrest and produce Jamaat acting secretary general Rafiqul Islam Khan, central executive council member Hamidur Rahman Azad, MP, and Dhaka city unit assistant secretary general Selim Uddin on or before March 21.
On February 7, the tribunal asked the trio to explain as to why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against them for making provocative and derogatory remarks about the tribunal.
The tribunal issued the notice on the basis of reports published in The Daily Star and Bangla daily Prothom Alo on February 5 on a Jamaat rally held in the capital the previous day.
The Prothom Alo quoted Selim Uddin as saying; “There is no scope for the controversial tribunal to deliver any verdict if the country is to be saved from a civil war.” It quoted Azad as saying at the same programme, “This tribunal cannot exist anymore.”
The Daily Star in a report headlined “Jamaat warns of civil war” quoted Rafiqul Islam as saying, “Don't push the country into a civil war by delivering one-sided verdicts against our leaders. If anything happens to Quader Mollah, every house will be on fire.”
The trio missed their day in court three times. Yesterday too was scheduled for their appearance in court and submission of their explanation.
Golam Mohammad Chowdhury Alal, a counsel for the Jamaat leaders, said they “could not communicate” with their clients.
However, Bangla daily Sangram, the mouthpiece of Jamaat, published at least five press statements of Rafiqul Islam from March 1 to 5.
Prosecutor Rana Dasgupta said, “They [Jamaat leaders] deliberately disobeyed tribunal's order. Arrest warrants should be issued to ensure their appearance.”
The tribunal, in its order, said, “Since the opposite party [Jamaat leaders] deliberately avoided appearing before the tribunal, it would be appropriate if we asked the law enforcement agency to secured arrest and produce them before the tribunal.”
Before the order of the tribunal was issued, the defence counsels withdrew their power of attorney as they could not bring their clients.