David Bergman. Photo taken from Facebook
A special tribunal in Dhaka today fixed October 13 for passing an order regarding the contempt of court proceedings against David Bergman, a Dhaka-based British journalist,for allegedly demeaning the tribunal.
The International Crimes Tribunal-2 led by its Chairman Justice Obaidul Hassan fixed the date after both the petitioner and defence counsels completed their submission in presence of Bergman, the editor (special reports) of Dhaka-based English daily New Age.
On April 17, the tribunal started contempt of court proceedings against Bergman as it found “prima facie elements of contempt” in his write-ups.
Earlier on February 18, Supreme Court lawyer Abul Kalam Azad filed a contempt petition with the tribunal alleging that Bergman in his article “Sayedee indictment-1971 deaths” on November 11, 2011, had “questioned” the figure of deaths of martyrs in the war that “belittled” the authority of the court.
The petition also cited Bergman's analysis posted in his blog on January 28, 2013: “It is simply to point out that if the tribunal is supposed to be an adjudicator of truth, it would have been appropriate for it to have dealt with the issue of the number of dead in a more judicial manner -- rather than repeating a mantra that has little or no factual basis.”
The petitioner also alleged that Bergman, made “relentless efforts to justify that the tribunal was absolutely wrong in mentioning three million deaths and the number of 200,000 women raped in 1971 with reference to various unsupported, inconsistent and contradictory sources”.
In response to the petition, the tribunal on February 20 asked Bergman to explain his write-ups posted on his personal blog that focused on the indictment order passed on Delawar Hossain Sayedee and the verdict in the case against Abul Kalam Azad.
On October 3, 2011, Tribunal-1 on in its indictment order in the case against condemned Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee said three million people were killed, more than 2 lakh women were raped, and about 10 million people had to take refuge in India as a result of the actions of the Pakistani military and their collaborators.
Tribunal-2 on January 21, 2013, in its verdict in the case against condemned Abul Kamal Azad mentioned the same figures.