The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) on Monday directed the authorities to keep BNP standing committee member Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, MP in custody till April 19, 2011.
The Tribunal, at the same time, directed the investigation agency to complete war crimes probe, which is going on against Chowdhury, as soon as possible.
Following a petition filed by the investigation agency, the Tribunal comprising its Chairman Justice Md Nizamul Huq and two members Justices ATM Fazle Kabir and AKM Zaheer Ahmed passed the order.
After hearing both sides for more than an hour on the matter, the Tribunal also directed the jail authorities to produce the BNP lawmaker before it on April 19.
Ssalauddin Quader Chowdhury himself moved before the court as no lawyer was allowed to assist him for a complexity in the ICT Act in this regard.
He told the Tribunal that it cannot issue the order against him now as he is yet to be charged with the crimes mentioned at the section 3(2) of ICT Act as doing so is ultra violation of the ICT Act, 1973.
The rules 6 and 9, under which authority the Prosecution sought custody warrant against him, are totally contradictory with the main Act of 1973, SQ Chowdhury told the court.
The investigation agency in its petition sought the Tribunal's directive to keep him custody for effective investigation going on against him in connection with crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.
Apart from the investigation agency's petition, the Tribunal heard four other petitions filed by SQ Chowdhury for permitting him to attend JS session and parliamentary standing committee meetings, recalling production warrant earlier issued against him, giving him treatment in a specialised private hospital, and providing necessary documents of allegation against him and others.
However, the Tribunal rejected all the petitions giving a verbal order upon the authorities and an advice SQ Chowdhury regarding his treatment.
About his application of attending JS session, the Tribunal said, "It is not purview of this court" while about necessary documents and production warrant, it said that same petitions were filed earlier by Nizami, Mujahid and others, but were rejected. So, these petitions are also rejected.
Rejecting the petition of treatment, the Tribunal verbally ordered the authorities to look after SQ Chowdhury, must ensure his proper treatment and advised him to go the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court where a same matter filed by his wife Farhat Quader Chowdhury is pending.
The court told Chowdhury that he would not get the court's orders but the final judgment, through which he can appeal with the Appellate Division. Chowdhury would also get all documents of allegations against him after framing formal charges.
Following an earlier order of the Tribunal, the jail authorities brought SQ Chowdhury to the Tribunal at about 8:35 am and produced him before the courtroom at 10:25 yesterday.
After just entering courtroom, SQ Chowdhury saw that no lawyer assigned by him were present there. Then he loudly uttered that "Is it camera trial? Or public trial? If its camera trail, I will not sit here. If the trial of Bangabandhu killing is held in public, then why not it is?
The Judges took their seats at 10:30 am.
SQ Chowdhury also sought court's permission to allow his lawyers, whose list was earlier sent to the Tribunal, into the courtroom to assist him. Then, the Tribunal cleared that a list of 20 lawyers was sent by Chowdhury but was not allowed to assist him. "As per rules, if you (Chowdhury) file petition, then you have to move those, nobody can assist you. If your lawyers file petition, then they have to move. You can choice one of the two."
"Under which rules, I cannot get assistance from the lawyers?" SQ Chowdhury wanted to know from the Tribunal. He repeatedly requested the Tribunal to permit him but didn't get and finally he himself decided to move the four petitions.
Firstly, Prosecutor Zead Al-Malum placed different law points and logics to keep SQ Chowdhury in custody.
He said, “Chowdhury committed, led to commit and make others committed the crimes mentioned at the section 3(2) of the ICT Act, 1973.”
Chowdhury snatching arms of Pakistani soldier shot to death Natun Chandra Singh, founder Kundashwari Oushadhalay in front of a temple in his residence, killed 35 persons in Jagatmallopara and others 69 in Unashattorpara in the port city by brushfire, he said.
Led by SQ Chowdhury, peace committee, Razakar and Al-Badar were formed and made genocide to destroy the Hindus and the believers of Bangali nationalism. He is son of Fazlul Quader Chowdhury, the then chief of East Pakistan Muslim League. During the nine-month Liberation War, their Good-Hill residence was made torture cell, Malum said.
A probe into crimes against him is going on; some documents have already been found; if he is arrested and interrogated, more information about it can be found. Moreover, the witnesses are in threats of Chowdhury. He can flee abroad if he remains free. So, he (Chowdhury) should be kept in custody for effective investigation, said Zead Al-Malum.
SQ Chowdhury refuted the allegations of Zead Al-Malum.
He requested the judges to look into how and see that many Hindus were sheltered in Gool-Hill during the nine-month war.
"I never involved in students politics. In January, 1979, I formally joined Muslim League. Before that time, no report of allegation was published against me, rather after 1979," he said.
"I am a heart patient. Torture in jail worsened it. I was electric shocked two hours and at the same time checked level of my pressure. When I feel well, then again I was shocked repeatedly."
"I needs to be in a specialised private hospital. I have no confidence in public hospital," he said
Lastly, SQ Chowdhury requested the Tribunal to direct the jail authorities to permit his lawyers to meet him in jail to make different legal documents and petitions saying that the authorities refused to meet the lawyers to do so.
The Tribunal told him, "First submit your vokalatnama."