ICT-1 proceeding halted as ceiling crashes in

The first war crimes tribunal of Bangladesh adjourned proceedings when a slab of false ceiling crashed on the floor. There were no injuries.

Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee's war crimes investigator was at the stand, for the 26th time on Wednesday, when a square slab of hardboard-like material fell close to him.

The slab fell under the weight of water it had presumably soaked due to the past few days of rainfall, said Deputy Registrar Mesbahuddin Ahmed.

The square slab broke into pieces splashing water all around it between the witness stand and the stenographer's table on the left corner of the courtroom's far end adjacent to the raised platform where the judges sit.

This created an immediate commotion in the court and investigation officer ASP Mohammad Helal Uddin, who was facing defence counsel Mizanul Islam's cross-examination for the 26th time, remained at the stand evidently startled.

Prosecutor Syed Haider Ali suggested that the false ceiling be inspected first by relevant personnel and the trial could then continue.

Tribunal Chairman Justice Mohammad Nizamul Huq agreed instantly and adjourned the proceedings.

Earlier, the tribunal allowed an attendant for the ailing Sayedee, who has recently had three new stents inserted into his heart, and according to the defence application, needed the care of an attendant round the clock.

The tribunal then rejected two applications filed by Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami. The first was relating to a review of Nizami's charges and another requesting transfer of the case, thereby eliminating the need for the tribunal chief's recusal.

Justice Huq said regarding the transfer petition, "This application does not merit any consideration and as such, stands rejected."

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