Home / Bangladesh / Zafrullah cleared of contempt charge

Zafrullah cleared of contempt charge

21The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court yesterday scrapped the conviction and fine handed down by the International Crimes Tribunal-2 to Gonoshsthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury in connection with contempt of the court case. The apex court came up with the order after accepting an unconditional apology tendered by Zafrullah for the joint statement he signed about the tribunal and its judges. However, the four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha warned Zafrullah not to make any derogatory remarks over the judiciary and judges in future. Before passing the order, Zafrullah, a veteran freedom fighter, filed a petition through his lawyer before the apex court seeking apology for criticising a contempt punishment of journalist David Bergman. Advocate Abbur Razzaque Khan appeared for Zafrullah at the court while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam stood for the government.
On June 10, the ICT-2 found Zafruallah Chowdhury guilty of contempt of court for criticising the punishment of Bangladesh-based British journalist David Bergman. The tribunal punished Zafrullah keeping him standing in the court for an hour and fined him Tk 5,000. The court said he will have to serve in jail for one month if he fails to pay the fine in seven days.
However, the tribunal had exonerated 22 other signatories to the statement with ‘serious caution’ as they had done it for the first time. After hearing a petition filed by Zafrullah, the Appellate Division on June 16 withheld the judgment of the ICT-2 fining the Gonoshsthaya Kendra founder for contempt of court.
On 14 January, the ICT-2 issued a contempt notice against 49 people who had expressed concern through a statement published on the daily Prothom Alo over the tribunal’s judgment punishing Bergman of contempt of court.
Based on their explanations, the tribunal on two past dates exonerated 25 from the allegation of contempt of court. The ICT-2 drew contempt proceedings against the 23 noted citizens in April.