Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury: Two Defense Applications
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Sayedee: Case-in-Chief: Two Defense Applications
On 21 March 2013 the Tribunal passed an order rejecting the petition filed by Salauddin Quader Chowdhury under section 7 of the Members’ Privileges Act of 1965. Salauddin filed this petition when Parliament was in session seeking an adjournment of criminal proceedings at the Tribunal until seven days after the conclusion of the session of Parliament. The Tribunal stated that Section 7 of the Member Privileges Act should be read with section 8 of the same Act. They stated that section 8 of the Member Privileges Act will be applied in the present scenario as Chowdhury was arrested on criminal charges. The Tribunal further stated that Parliament currently is not in session and the petition has no merits and is therefore rejected.
On March 19, 2013 Salauddin Quader Chowdhury filed a petition seeking protection from defamatory harassment while in the custody. Chowdhury has been charged with committing sodomy against another inmate of the Kashimpur-1 jail where Chowdhury is being held. The alleged victim is evidently serving a 31 year sentence and was apparently delegated to serve Chowdhury who has special accommodations in jail. The charges were not brought by the alleged victim himself, but by the victim’s father. Chowdhury contests the charges and has stated that he believes them to be backed by parties with vested interests who seek to destroy him politically. In addition to protection from defamatory statements, Chowdhury requested that the Tribunal order an investigation into the allegations. The Tribunal disposed off the petition, stating that the matter was not related to the case and was a matter for the jail authorities. However, the Tribunal directed the jail authorities to take steps so that Salauddin Quader Chowdhury could assign the power of attorney to a representative for filing a suit in this regard.
In the Sayedee case the Tribunal heard arguments for the two Defense applications filed on 20 March 2013. The first requested bail for two cases filed in the Pirojpur Sadar Police Station Case No 9(8)09 and Zianagar Police Station Case No 4(9)09; the second requested certified or authenticated copies of the FIR, Charge Sheet, Statement of witnesses and other relevant documents related to these cases filed in Pirojpur Sadar Police Station and Zianogor Police Station. Mizanul Islam submitted that the two cases were transferred to the Investigation Agency of the ICT and the cases are still under investigation. He further submitted that there is no forum in which Sayedee can seek a legal remedy other than ICT. Therefore the Defense requested bail before this Tribunal. Prosecutor Haider Ali submitted that none of the documents related to these cases were exhibited in the ICT case against Sayedee. He further submitted that there is no connection between the ICT case and the cases filed in the Pirojpur Sadar Police Station (Case No 9(8)09) and Zianagar Police Station (Case No 4(9)09). Thereafter, Tribunal rejected both the Defense applications, stating that Tribunal has no authority to supply documents regarding these two cases.
The Tribunal then adjourned the proceedings at about 11:35 due to the government’s declaration of a public holiday to mourn the death of the President of Bangladesh.