A researcher from Ghulam Azam’s legal team was arrested today while photocopying documents for the case. According to BDNews24, the researcher was photocopying a document when a call was received by the New Market police station, purporting to be from the tribunal, asking them to detain the man. They also seized the documents which were being photocopied and refused to release them until the International Crimes Tribunal directed them to do so.
The tribunal’s chairperson stated that the documents were confidential and needed to be kept secret. Judge Zaheer Ahmed denied knowledge of the phone call but refused to investigate further, saying “We will not go into that. It could have been a secret informant”. The judge also stated that court documents should not be taken to a public place for photocopying. However, the number of pages (in total over 25,000) made it impractical for the defence team to do otherwise. They were advised that, although this rule was not in place previously, they would need to apply for permission to photocopy documents in future.
This is yet another example of the harassment of defence lawyers, which has been criticised by Human Rights Watch. It also highlights media bias in presenting the police and ICT in a favourable light even after subjecting an innocent person to unnecessary police detention, with no apology issued to the victim. This occurs in the context of giving the defence team only three weeks to prepare their case, thus wasting time and delaying them further.