Irrelevant exhibits irk tribunal

The International Crimes Tribunal-1 yesterday expressed annoyance at irrelevant exhibits, including a family album of Bangabandhu, submitted by the investigation officer in a case against Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee.

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“What's the relevance of the family album of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to the case against Delwar Hossain Sayedee?” AKM Zaheer Ahmed, a judge of the three-member tribunal, asked Investigation Officer (IO) of the case Mohammad Helal Uddin.

The IO, also the final (28th) prosecution witness in the case, was being cross-examined by the defence.

“Why should you submit an exhibit unless it has a link with the case in hand?” the judge asked.

Zaheer Ahmed criticised the prosecution and the IO for submitting irrelevant exhibits without thinking of the consequences.

“You go wild while submitting exhibits but don't see what you are submitting and why,” he said

The judge later apologised to the prosecution saying that he had become emotional and reminded the prosecution to be more careful while submitting evidence.

It all started with a question from defence counsel Mizanul Islam, who had been cross-examining the IO for the 11th day yesterday.

He asked the IO about some tanks shown in a footage that was presented as evidence in the case.

The footage was among the video clips, newspaper articles and documents the IU had submitted as evidence against Sayedee during his nine-day testimony.

The materials gave a general overview of the atrocities committed in 1971, but mentioned nothing about Sayedee.

“The tanks shown in the clip, did you investigate where they were manufactured?” was the question from the defence counsel.

The three-member tribunal argued that the piece of information had little relevance to the case.

The defence lawyer, however, insisted that the question was very much relevant.

“As the prosecution has exhibited these as evidence, they must have some motive behind it,” responded Mizanul Islam, adding that the footage was shown to make the court atmosphere “heavy”.

Zaheer Ahmed later reminded the defence counsel that even though everyone might become emotional watching the footage, it would have little effect in the actual judgement.

The defence counsel later asked about the script of declaration of the country's independence, which was also submitted as evidence.

The tribunal then asked the IO whether the declaration of independence was really relevant to the case against Sayedee.

Helal Uddin replied that he included the exhibit to prove that Bangabandhu proclaimed the war of liberation.

“What are you saying? Is this court here to prove history? Are you entitled to do that in this case?” said AKM Zaheer Ahmed, “These are admitted facts.”

“Think about the exhibits before you submit them. Try to understand where they can lead and the consequences of submitting them,” the judge added.

He asked IO Helal Uddin whether Bangabandhu's family album, which was submitted as an exhibit, had any relation with Sayedee and the charges brought against him.

The IO replied in the negative.

The tribunal later adjourned the proceedings against Sayedee until today.

The Jamaat nayeb-e-ameer was produced before the court yesterday. His is facing 20 counts of crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War of 1971.

Meanwhile, another defence counsel Tajul Islam yesterday complained to the court that a defence witness had been arrested in another case while another witness faced harassments from local police. He referred to a report published in yesterday's edition of the daily Naya Diganta.

Justice Md Nizamul Huq, chairman of Tribunal-1, asked the defence counsel to submit an application regarding the matter.

News Source: 
The Daily Star