The Bangladesh Cyber Tribunal has acquitted Salauddin Quader Chowdhury’s wife and son in the case over the leak of the executed war criminal’s verdict and sent five others including his lawyer to jail for different terms.
Salauddin Quader’s lawyer Fakhrul Islam has been sentenced to 10-year imprisonment and fined Tk 10 million.
Failure to pay that fine will add another six months in jail for him to his sentence.
The other four accused – Salauddin Quader’s manager Mahbubul Ahsan, Islam’s assistant Mehedi Hasan, and two International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) employees Nayan Ali and Faruk Hossain – have been sentenced to seven years in jail.
Each of them has also been fined Tk 10,000. Failure to pay that fine will add a month in jail for them.
Among those convicted, Mehedi is still absconding.
Cyber Tribunal Judge KM Shamsul Islam pronounced the judgment on Thursday, after deferring the delivery of the judgement twice.
Former BNP MP from Chittagong, Salauddin Quader was executed in November last year for his crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War.
His wife Farhat Quader Chowdhury, who is out on bail, was present in court on Thursday.
The court delivered the verdict with their son Hummam Quader Chowdhury absconding, though the family claims he was picked up by law enforcers in August.
Farhat and Hummam’s lawyer Aminul Gani Tito told bsrisaltimes4.com: “The State has failed to prove the charges against them. I had guessed earlier that the court will acquit my clients.”
Lawyer MABM Khairul Islam Liton, who represented the other accused, said, “A mobile phone-related story that was mentioned when the case was filed was not a part of the FIR. Nayan did not confess in court to his involvement willingly.
“We are aggrieved. This is not justice. We will challenge this in High Court.”
State counsel Nazrul Islam Shamim, however, said they would decide on appealing against the judgment after receiving the copy of the full verdict.
“I don’t want to comment right now because I’m yet to get the full verdict. We’ll decide on the appeal after evaluating the copy of the verdict.”
On Oct 1, 2013, the ICT had sentenced Salauddin Quader to death. He was hanged after the Supreme Court upheld his punishment.
But before the ICT verdict was announced, the BNP leader’s wife, other members of the family and lawyers had displayed ‘copies of the verdict’ to journalists, claiming they had found them on the Internet.
Amid a furore, the war crimes tribunal admitted that the draft of the verdict had indeed been leaked and the tribunal registrar lodged a General Diary at Shahbagh Police Station the next day.
Two days later, the Detective Branch (DB) of police started the case under the Information and Communication Technology Act. Police pressed charges against the seven in August 2014.
Police had also listed 25 persons as prosecution witnesses.
The Cyber Tribunal began the trial in February this year indicting the seven accused. Witness deposition started on Mar 28.
The two ICT staffers had confessed in court that they were involved in the leaking of the war crimes verdict.
After the conclusion of the trial on Aug 4, a warrant was issued for Hummam as he did not appear before the court.
It also scrapped bail for the other suspects, except for Farhat, and sent them to jail.
Their lawyer Tito had claimed that Hummam was whisked away by men claiming themselves to be from the Detective Branch as soon as his car arrived at the court premises.
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police, however, said that Hummam was not in their custody.Other