Sayedee's review plea rejected
International Crimes Tribunal-1 yesterday rejected a petition filed for a review of the decision to take in 15 witnesses' statements as evidence against war crimes accused Delawar Hossain Sayedee.
The defence in the petition said some of the 15 witnesses, whom the prosecution claimed had either gone missing, left the country or were too sick to travel, actually stayed in the prosecution witness safe house in the capital.
On June 4, the defence submitted before the court three logs of the safe house. The logs contained information regarding witnesses entering, leaving and having meals at the safe house.
The tribunal in an order had said that the defence would have to prove the authenticity of the logs. Yesterday it rejected the petition as the defence failed to prove the authenticity.
The prosecution was supposed to have 68 witnesses testify against Sayedee. However, on March 20, it said it would not be possible to produce 46 of the witnesses as they were either very sick or missing.
The prosecution asked the court to accept the witnesses' statements before the investigation officer of the case as depositions before the court. The prosecution also said 19 of those who could not be produced before the court were key eyewitnesses to Sayedee's alleged crimes.
The tribunal on March 29 accepted the statements of 15 prosecution witnesses, out of the 46, as evidence against Sayedee.
The defence later filed the review petition against the court rule on accepting those statements as evidence.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Md Nizamul Huq, yesterday issued the order on the review petition yesterday, about a month after hearing on the matter.
Meanwhile, expressing discontent, defence counsel Abdur Razzaq told journalists outside the courtroom that he would be seriously prejudiced by the order.
"We comply with the order. We have respect for the judges and the tribunal. We are prejudiced against. This is a wrong judgment," he said, adding, "The tribunal has deprived us of the chance of proving that the documents were true."
"We could have proved that every word of the entry is correct. Where they [the witnesses] went, who bought clothes… we are not supposed to know about these. It's common sense that there existed three registers--food, keeping and arrival of witnesses," Razzaq said.
In response to a question from a reporter, Razzaq said had he been able to prove the authenticity of the documents, the documents would have proved that the prosecution had deceived the tribunal by submitting false statements.
Prosecutor Syed Haider Ali, however, claimed that the documents were forged.
Asked what measures would be taken if the defence had deceived the tribunal by providing "fake" documents, Haider Ali said, "Appropriate action will be taken at the right time."
Jamaat Nayeb-e-Ameer Sayedee is facing 20 counts of crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War.
Following the order, defence counsel Mizanul Islam cross-examined the investigation officer, the last prosecution witness in the case, throughout the day on various matters.