SC finds ministers Qamrul, Mozammel guilty of contempt, fines Tk 50,000 each or face 7 day imprisonment

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Dhaka, Mar 27: The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) on Sunday fined Tk 50,000 each after probing two Cabinet members were guilty of contempt for their remarks on the appeal hearing of a war crimes convict.

An eight-member Appellate Division bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the order after hearing of two ministers’ explanations given over their comments on war criminal Mir Quasem Ali’s appeal hearing.

According to SC order, Food Minister Md Qamrul Islam and Liberation War Affair Minister AKM Mozammel Huq have been asked to pay a fine of Tk 50, 000 each.

If they don’t pay the fine within seven days, they will have to suffer a week’s imprisonment, the order said.

Earlier, Food Minister Quamrul Islam and Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque appeared in the Supreme Court at around 8:45am over contempt charges.

Speaking at a discussion on March 5, Qamrul had called for a new bench that, in his view, should exclude the chief justice to hear Mir Quasem’s appeal.

Justice Sinha’s displeasure at the work of the International Crimes Tribunal’s investigators and prosecutors in the war crimes cases, including Mir Quasem’s one, had been interpreted  by the minister as a ‘broad hint’ that the war criminal’s death penalty might not be upheld.

Mozammel had also criticised the chief justice at the same programme.

The court had said during an earlier hearing that the comments “undermined the dignity and prestige of the Supreme Court and the office of the chief justice”.