Press Release of Defence Team in War Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh, 22 October 2015

In light of recent arrests and harassment of defence team members by security forces in Bangladesh, the defence team at The International War Crimes Tribunal has given the following press release on the incidents on 22 October, 2015, which is being reproduced below,
Press Release

22 October 2015

The defence team of the International Crimes Tribunal, Dhaka has issued the following press release:

On 22 October 2015 at about 2.30 pm, Asad Uddin, an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and a member of defence team of Maulana Motiur Rahman Nizami was arrested on his way to his home in Sirajganj.  Armed police and men dressed in plain clothes identifying themselves as members of the detective branch stopped the bus in which he was travelling  and arrested him after the bus crossed the Jamuna Bridge. The driver and conductor of the bus who witnessed the incident informed Advocate Asad Uddin’s family of the circumstances in which he was arrested. The Police station in the area in which he was arrested has refused to register a general diary in this regard.

On the same day, at about 7.20 PM, police raided the house of Mohammad Shishir Manir, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh and defence lawyer for Maulana Motiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahasan Mujahid. They enquired about Advocate Shishir Manir’s whereabouts with the intention of arresting him. However, since Advocate Shishir Manir was not available at the time, they arrested his driver instead and took him Adabor Police Station, where they threatened to torture him. The driver was later released when the media appeared and inquired about the arrest.

The defence team condemns the arrest of Advocate Asad Uddin and the raid carried out on Advocate Mohammad Shishir Manir’s house. The arrest and raid were carried out in violation of the Orders of 23 October 2012 and 29 November 2012 issued by the Tribunal, where the Tribunal directed the police to ensure the safety of the lawyers practising before the tribunal. The action by the police amounts to harassment of counsel in the performance of their professional duties and is a serious interference in the course of justice. We hope that the police and law enforcement agencies will exercise greater caution in the future in dealing with members of the defence team.

On behalf of the Defence Team
Mir Ahmad BinQuasem