The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) yesterday passed an order to keep Maulana Delwar Hossain Sayeedi in custody till December 29, 2010.
The Tribunal directed the investigation agency to submit its report to it after completing investigation of allegation of the crimes against Sayeedi or to inform it the development of investigation by December 23, 2010.
However, Sayeedi's lawyer Advocate Tazul Islam alleged that the order was given out of the jurisdiction of the Tribunal as Section 11(5) of the main statute didn't allow the court to do so.
Stating necessity of keeping Sayeedi in custody, the prosecutor told the Tribunal, "Sayeedi is very powerful and influential man. His magical speeches influences the people. He is the second in command of a political party (Jamaat-e-Islami). These may obstruct in process of conducting investigation against him."
"So, he needs to be kept in custody for effective and proper investigation," the prosecutor said.
The detention order followed a petition filed by the investigation agency through the prosecutors seeking the court's direction to arrest Sayeedi.
The Tribunal will again sit on December 29 and will decide considering the probe report that whether it will extend the detention order or not.
Yesterday, Maulana Sayeedi, a leader of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, was carried to the Tribunal in a prison van at about 10:00 am.
At about 10:30 am, Sayeedi was taken to the courtroom and in a minute three judges of the Tribunal-- its Chairman Justice Md Nizamul Huq, two members Justices ATM Fazle Kabir and AKM Zaheer Ahmed-- entered the room and took their seats.
The Tribunal passed the orders disposing of two petitions separately filed by prosecutors and Sayeedi. Prosecutors filed their petition seeking the court's direction to arrest Sayeedi while Sayeedi's petition was filed not to arrest him.
During the hearing, firstly Sayeedi's lawyer placed his arguments before the court.
Mentioning different sections including 11(5) of the International Crimes Tribunal Act (ICT), 1973 and various rules of the ICT rules of procedures before the court, Tazul said this Tribunal cannot issue warrant of arrest against any person, who is not formally charged with crimes mentioned in the act.
As no formal charge was filed against Sayeedi, this tribunal cannot direct to arrest him and the prosecutors' petition filed seeking Sayeedi's arrest warrant is liable to be rejected.
According to rules of procedure, for issuing arrest warrant against any person, the Tribunal has to be satisfied by the prosecution that the person may obstruct investigation process, Tazul added.
But the prosecution could not place anything that could satisfy this Tribunal to direct to arrest Sayeedi, Tazul told the court.
The prosecutors could not draw any specific allegation against Sayeedi, he said.
Sayeedi is an international religious leader; he was elected lawmaker twice from Pirojpur where the people following Hindu religion is majority; he is a non-sectarian person; there is no evidence against him to threat anybody. So, the probe cannot be obstructed by him, if he remains free, Tazul added.
Prosecutor Haider Ali told the Tribunal that report of the investigation agency was sufficient for issuing the arrest warrant.
When asked by a judge of the Tribunal about not having any specific allegation against Sayeedi, Haider Ali said, "We have all necessary information. All information cannot be disclosed in the interest of smooth investigation. How much information is necessary to seek his arrest warrant was stated in the petition."
When another Judge asked about necessity of keeping Sayeedi in custody, the prosecutor said, "Sayeedi is very powerful man and influential person. His magic speeches influences the people. Such speeches can create obstruction to conducting probe. "
Later, Sayeedi wanted to say something but the Tribunal did not permit him.