'Kh Mahbub's statement misinterpreted in seeking contempt proceedings'

‘Kh Mahbub’s statement misinterpreted in seeking contempt proceedings’

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President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Khandker Mahbub Hossain on Tuesday prayed for dismissing the plea of the chief prosecutor before the International Crimes Tribunal-1 seeking to draw contempt-of-court proceedings against him over the remarks he made on the current war crimes trial. Advocate Tajul Islam, the counsel for the SCBA president, came up with the prayer during hearing on the pre-trial contempt-of-court case. The counsel told the three-member tribunal that his client Khandker Mahbub, also BNP chairperson’s adviser, had honestly made the statement over the ongoing war crimes trial and still he believes in it as every citizen has the right to take legal action under the law of the land. Referring to his client, the counsel said if any false and fabricated evidence is produced in the tribunal should not go unpunished. “My client’s speech has been misinterpreted by the complainant-petitioner without understanding the role of the judiciary and the judges engaged in dispensation of justice,” argued Tajul. The counsel claimed that the speech made by Khandker Mahbub in no way comes under the mischief of section 11 (4) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973. At the outset of the hearings, the three-member tribunal, headed by Justice M Enayetur Rahim, got surprised seeing no representation from the prosecution panel as the pre-contempt petition was filed by the chief prosecutor. Later, appearing before the tribunal, prosecutor Tapas K Baul verbally moved a time petition for homework on the hearing. “Why didn’t you appear when the hearing began? We didn’t see anyone from the prosecution side…why? You should have been present beforehand as you are the petitioner.” In reply, the prosecutor failed to satisfy the tribunal as he started faltering. Allowing the prosecution time plea, the tribunal, however, set May 8 for the next hearing. Responding to a prosecution petition on October 6, 2013, the tribunal issued a notice asking Khandker Mahbub to explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him for his alleged scandalous remarks on war crimes trial. The tribunal, however, had exempted the noted lawyer from appearing in person before it to explain his position over the war crimes trial, considering his status as elected vice-chairman of the Bangladesh Bar Council, a statutory body that regulates the lawyers. On October 1, 2013, immediately after the pronouncement of the ICT-1 judgment that had sentenced BNP policymaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury MP to death for crimes against humanity in 1971 Liberation War, Khandker Mahbub at a media briefing threatened to try all involved in the war crimes trial if BNP is voted to power, terming farcical the war crimes trial. Such remarks by Khandker Mahbub prompted the prosecution to file application before the tribunal seeking to take legal action against the apex court Bar leader. – UNB

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