Two tribunal staff involved
Two tribunal staff, an assistant to a defence lawyer and several others were involved in leaking the draft verdict in the war crimes trial of BNP lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, police say.
Some aides to the BNP leader masterminded the leak to undermine the tribunal as well as its verdict and bribed the employees -- office assistant Fakhrul Hossain and cleaner Nayon Ali -- to smuggle out the document, investigators suspect.
Mehedi Hasan, assistant to SQ Chowdhury's counsel Fakhrul Islam, might have emailed the draft to the UK from where it was posted on websites, they say.
Detectives filed a case against the trio and several unnamed others under the information and communication technology act with Shahbagh Police Station yesterday.
Joint Commissioner Monirul Islam of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said, "Nayon, whose job was yet to be permanent, had been working at the tribunal at Tk 120 a day. He has computer literacy; he often used computers at tribunal offices."
Nayon Ali was arrested yesterday while the rest of the accused were on the run, he said. But according to a source in the Detective Branch, Fakhrul Hossain was at the DB custody for interrogation.
The cleaner had confessed to the crime, Monirul said while briefing newsmen at the public relations office of DMP yesterday.
Fakhrul Hossain had asked Nayon to give Mehedi “some documents” related to SQ Chowdhury's trial from the tribunal's computers.
"Nayon Ali along with some colleagues used to spend nights on the ground floor of the tribunal; so he got several chances to commit the crime," the DMP official said.
Nayon handed over Mehedi the soft copies of 165-page document in phases using pen drives. He at one stage had refused to do the task. However, he had to continue as Mehdi and Fakhrul threatened to put him in trouble.
Monirul Islam said, "As we seized the tribunal's computers on which the verdict was drafted, we traced the use of pen drives. Then, we interrogated some tribunal employees, including Nayon.
"We also collected footage of CCTV cameras installed in the tribunal."
The three judges of International Crimes Tribunal-1 had separately written parts of the verdict and two computer operators composed those.
Once the compiling was done, the three judges collectively finalised the verdict, a top official of the tribunal said.
The Tribunal-1 on Tuesday sentenced Salauddin Quader Chowdhury to death for committing crimes against humanity and genocide during the country's Liberation War in 1971.
Soon after the verdict, his wife Farhat Quader Chowdhury claimed to journalists that she had already got “the copy of the judgment”, saying it had been retrieved from the computer of the law secretary and that it had been written by the law ministry.
During the verdict pronouncement, the accused himself made similar claims.
Also, at least two anonymously operated websites -- justiceconcern.org and tribunalleaks.be -- posted the document, saying it was the copy of original verdict. It was then picked up by various blogs and Facebook pages early Tuesday.
Also yesterday, law enforcers seized documents and computers from the office of SQ Chowdhury's counsel Fakhrul Islam.
The lawyer told The Daily Star that detectives accompanied by the Rab and police raided his office at Kakrail in the capital around 2:30pm.
BNP's Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi last night in a press conference condemned the raid, saying it was a bid to cover up the government's misdeeds.