Alleged leak of SQC verdict raises controversies
Govt orders probeStaff Correspondent
The government has ordered an investigation after controversies arose over the alleged leakage of the verdict against Bangladesh Nationalist Party lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury in a war crimes case.
A copy of the document said to part of the verdict delivered by the International Crimes Tribunal 1 on Tuesday was made available on the social media, raising allegations that the judgement was leaked from a computer at the law secretary’s office.
‘The law ministry has asked the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to look into the matter,’ state minister for law Quamrul Islam told a press briefing at the secretariat.
The junior minister, who was accompanied by the law secretary, brushed aside the allegations as baseless and part of the conspiracy at home and abroad to thwart the war crimes trials. ‘BTRC has already started investigating the issue.’
Family members of Salauddin Quader alleged that they had found the copy of Tuesday’s verdict on website www.justiceconcern.org two days ago and the document, they said, was leaked from the law ministry.
The International Crimes Tribunal 1 on Tuesday handed Salauddin Quader, a BNP lawmaker, death sentence in the case of crimes against humanity committed in 1971.
Acting law secretary Abu Saleh Sheikh Md Zahirul Haque said that judgements were always written by the tribunal/court concerned and the ministry was in no way involved here.
‘The government with due approval of the tribunal would take legal actions against those involved in the preparation of the verdict if it matches with the document published online by Belgium-based Today Blog,’ the secretary told New Age.
He also refuted the allegation that it was leaked from a computer folder of his staff Alam, saying there was no member of the staff at his ministry by the name of Alam.
Just after the pronouncement of the verdict, Salauddin Quader arose from his chair in the dock and said the judgement was an order from the ministry. Meanwhile, the tribunal judges left the courtroom.
‘The judgement is now available on internet and anyone will find it there,’ he said. He said that he wanted to ‘thank’ the law ministry for this judgement.
Earlier, when Justice Anwarul Haque was reading the verdict, Salauddin said that all this was available on ‘hotline’ (online) and it had been available for two days.
Defence lawyer AKM Fakhrul Islam said, ‘My client was denied justice.’
‘We will go to the Appellate Division and seek retrial. This is nothing but miscarriage of justice…This is a judgment of the law ministry,’ he added.
The defence lawyer said that the judgment’s copy was now available on the internet and he showed a ‘copy’ to newsmen. Asked about the alleged leak of verdict on the social media, prosecutor Zead-Al-Malum said it was a ‘drama’ staged by the SQC family.
Hummam Quader Chowdhury, the youngest son of the convict, claimed they already had the verdict downloaded from an online portal.
BNP leader Moudud Ahmed said that the verdict had ‘shocked’ pro-BNP lawyers.
Moudud also termed ‘unprecedented’ the news of Salauddin’s verdict being available on the internet a day before the tribunal delivered the judgment.
He said it was ‘shocking’ that the tribunal’s verdict on Salauddin was found in a computer of the law ministry and the document showed that the verdict was being written since May, 2013, before Salauddin’s trial was completed.
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