B'desh War Crimes Tribunal Summons British Journalist

Anisur Rahman/Dhaka
B'desh War Crimes Tribunal Summons British Journalist

A special Bangladeshi war crimes tribunal today summoned a Dhaka-based British journalist to explain his blog posts that questioned its judgement of giving death penalty to a Jamaat leader for crimes against humanity during the 1971 liberation war.

David Bergman, who works for English-language daily 'New Age', has been asked to appear before the tribunal on March 6.

The International Crimes Tribunal-2 (ICT) Chairman Justice Obaidul Hassan issued the order two days after a High Court lawyer filed a petition seeking contempt proceedings against Bergman.

The petitioner alleged Bergman criticised the tribunal's January 28, 2013 verdict sentencing to death fugitive Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu Razakar.

Bergman, he said, gave postings headlined "Azad judgement analysis 1: 'in-absentia' trials and defence inadequacy" and "Azad judgement analysis 2: Tribunal assumptions".

The British journalist who himself earlier took newspaper headlines for his critical comments on war crimes trial, however, told a news agency that "whilst my blog does contain critical comments of some of the tribunal's orders, the comments are measured, and fair - even though others may disagree with them".

"A fair criticism of judicial proceedings or courts is no doubt permissible so as to enable the court to look inward into the correctness of the proceedings and the legality of the order," he said citing an Appellate Division decision in his defence.

Bergman is the husband of prominent lawyer and rights activist Sara Hossain and son-in-law of leading lawyer Kamal Hossain, a close associate of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and a key author of Bangladesh's constitution.

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