2 journalists have to reply to ICT notice by March 4
The International Crimes Tribunal-1 yesterday extended time until March 4 for two journalists of The Economist to reply to a show-cause notice it had issued earlier.
The three-member tribunal headed by Justice ATM Fazle Kabir fixed the new date following a time petition from the counsel of the two journalists.
The tribunal on December 6 last year served the notice on Chief Editor Rob Gifford and South Asia Bureau Chief Adam Roberts of the British magazine asking them to reply within three weeks why proceedings under section 11 (4) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973, would not be taken against them.
The move came after a person, claiming to have been from The Economist, had called Justice Md Nizamul Huq, former chairman of the tribunal, and said the weekly possessed the record of his Skype conversation with expatriate legal expert Ahmed Ziauddin.
Section 11 (4) of the Act says a tribunal may punish any person, who obstructs or abuses its process or disobeys any of its orders or directions, or does anything which tends to prejudice the case of a party before it.
Mustafizur Rahman Khan, counsel of the journalists, told the tribunal his clients had received the show-cause notice in the last part of January and he received Vokalatnama (power of attorney) on Saturday.
The tribunal fixed March 4 as the lawyer sought four weeks' time for preparation.
Justice Huq resigned from the tribunal on December 11 amid controversy over the leak and media reports on his Skype conversation with Ziauddin, following which the government reconstituted the two tribunals.
Meanwhile, the tribunal yesterday completed recording the testimony of Brig Gen (dismissed) Abdullahil Aman Azmi, son of former Jamaat-e-Islami ameer Ghulam Azam, and the first defence witness in the case against Azam.
Azmi, who gave his testimony on November 12, 2012, exhibited a total 329 documents to defend his father.
The tribunal adjourned the case proceeding until today when Azmi is set to face cross-examination.
The tribunal also recorded cross-examination of Zahir Uddin Jalal, second prosecution witness in the case against incumbent Jamaat Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami before adjourning the proceeding until tomorrow.
In his testimony on December 18 last year, Jalal said he had heard Nizami asking a Pakistani army officer to have him killed along with martyr freedom fighter Rumi, son of Shaheed Janani Jahanara Imam, and musician Altaf Mahmud when they were detained at a camp during the Liberation War.
Meanwhile, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 extended the time until February 26 for BNP standing committee member MK Anwar to explain his alleged derogatory comments over the war crimes trial.
The tribunal fixed the new date following a time petition filed by Anwar's lawyer for preparation.
â€œWe want to contest the case and [for this reason] we want time for preparation,â€ said Anwar's counsel Munshi Ahsan Kabir.
The tribunal on January 24 issued the show-cause notice following a prosecution-filed contempt petition in connection with Anwar's comment published in the media.
The daily Sangram quoted Anwar as saying, â€œThe government out of political vengeance is staging a farce in the name of war crimes trial.â€
He was addressing a discussion at Mahanagar Natyamancha marking the 77th birth anniversary of late president Ziaur Rahman on January 20.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Benazir Ahmed has meanwhile visited the tribunal to inspect security measures taken by law enforcers.