Daily Naya Diganta reported on the harassment of the defence counsel byh the police. On approaching the tribunal for protection they were dismissively told to ‘tell Human Rights Watch’.
Suggestion to approach HRW while counsels approached Tribunal for protection
Detective Branch Police raids residence of Abdul Qader Molla’s counsel
Daily Naya Diganta, Back Page, 4th December 2012
The Defence Counsels for Accused Abdul Qader Molla have brought the incidence of Detective Branch Police raiding the house of Defence Counsel Sazzad Ali to Tribunal-2 yesterday. Defence Counsel Tajul Islam raised the issue in the morning stating that “We need protection of this Hon’bl Tribunal to discharge out duty without fear of intimidation”.
After hearing out the defence counsel, Chairman Justice Fazle Kabir said “We do not see any thing serious and hence we shall not pass any order at this moment”. Whereas Mr Justice Obaidul Hassan Shaheen said, “please bring forward a written complaint, we shall see the matter”. The other member of Tribunal Mr Shahinur Islam (former Registrar of the Tribunal) said to Mr Tajul Islam “Why are you not telling this to Human Rights Watch? Go tell Human Rights Watch!”. Counsel Tajul Islam replied “Why we have to approach HRW where the safety & security is a fundamental right of every citizen under the constitution of Bangladesh, there is court to enforce our right, why we need Human Rights Watch?”.
Tajul Islam informed the Tribunal 2 that, yesterday a witness listed as ‘Prosecution Witness’ testified in Tribunal 2 as Defence Witness for Abdul Qader Molla. On the same night, Detective Branch Plainclothed personnel raided the residence of Sazzad Ali, counsel of Abdur Qader Molla. Counsel Ali was not at his residence during the raid. However, Sazzad Hossain saw police coming out of his resident.
Counsel Tajul Islam said “How can defence counsels discharge their professional duty if we are subjected to intimidation by Police. Police also raided my chambers recently.”
Counsel Tajul Islam submitted a news report published in Daily Amar Desh which gave detailed information about the raid by the police in Defence Counsel’s residence. The Judges after going through the report replied “We don’t find any thing here to take cognizance! Police can raid any one’s residence for their professional reasons. There is noting wrong in that”.
Counsel Tajul Islam replied “Doesn’t it tantamount to harassment and intimidation if police in plain cloth turns up at the counsel’s residence? Particularly when at the same day when a person named in the Prosecution Witness List testifies as the Defence Witness? What can the reason for police raiding the counsel’s residence at 11pm in the night?”
Mr Justice Shahinur Islam replied “You also don’t understand why!”. Mr Tajul Islam replied “However, My lord, I know why they raided.”
Tribunal further enquired “Why the counsel did not go and meet the police and let them know that he is a listed defence counsel. He should have asked the police the reason for the raid.”
Counsel Tajul Replied “Why he should take such a life threatening risk? What if the plain clothed police took him away and later totally denied that they had any thing to do with his disappearance. Such incidences are taking place in Bangladesh almost on a regular basis.”
Chief Defence Counsel Abdu Razzaq during his daily press briefing stated that such raid tantamount to obstruction of justice.