Economist magazine faces contempt in Bangladesh

Dec 09, 2012 by Farid Hossain

(AP)—A Bangladesh war crimes tribunal has accused the British magazine The Economist of hacking the computer of its presiding judge to record conversations and read emails he exchanged with a lawyer.

The magazine did not directly address the charges, but said it was in possession of conversations and documents that raised serious questions about the workings of the tribunal.

The tribunal is trying 10 opposition politicians on charges of arson, rape and other atrocities committed during the country's 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

Bangladesh says that during the war, Pakistani troops, aided by their local collaborators, killed 3 million people and raped about 200,000 women.

International have called for fair and impartial proceedings and raised questions about how the tribunal is being conducted.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has complained about flaws in the tribunal and expressed concern about a police raid on defense lawyers and the disappearance of a witness at the courthouse gates who had reportedly been preparing to testify for the defense.

In an order passed last week, the tribunal accused The Economist of and asked it to explain how it got emails and heard Skype conversations between Presiding Judge Mohammed Nizamul Huq and Ahmed Ziauddin, a lawyer of Bangladeshi origin living in Brussels, Belgium.

The order was issued to Adam Roberts, South Asia bureau chief of the magazine, and Rob Gifford, its Asia specialist, the tribunal said in a statement.

It accused the magazine of "interfering into the work of the tribunal and violating the privacy of its presiding judge."

The tribunal threatened to bring contempt charges against the pair unless they give a satisfactory reply within three weeks.

In an article published Saturday, The Economist said it has heard 17 hours of recorded telephone conversations and seen over 230 emails between Huq and Ziauddin.

"These emails, if genuine, would indeed raise questions about the working of the court and we are bound to investigate them as fully as we can," the article said.

The Economist rejected the tribunal's demand that the emails and recorded conversations be returned to it without being published.

"This material is confidential and we are bound by law and the British press's Code of Conduct not to reveal such information except in matters of the most serious public interest. We did not solicit the material, nor pay for it, nor commit ourselves to publish it," it said.

But the tribunal said the materials were obtained illegally and accused the magazine of calling the judge for comment, adding that interviewing a sitting judge is illegal and tantamount to contempt. Under Bangladesh law, a contempt conviction carries up to six months in jail.

Most of those on trial belong to the Islamic Jamaat-e-Islami party, which in 1971 campaigned against Bangladesh's war of separation from Pakistan. The party stands accused of supporting or in some cases taking part in atrocities committed by Pakistani troops. If convicted the defendants could be hanged.

Explore further: Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Indian tribunal split on 3G roaming case

Jul 03, 2012

India's telecoms tribunal delivered a split ruling Tuesday on a challenge by mobile phone operators to a government ban on forming roaming pacts to provide 3G services outside their licensed zones.

Geneva's smoking ban returns after one-year break

Sep 27, 2009

A ban on smoking in public places will return to Switzerland's Geneva canton after being approved in a referendum Sunday, a year after a court ended a first bid to prohibit lighting up.

Australian sacked for Facebook rant

Aug 18, 2011

An Australian man who posted a foul-mouthed rant against management on social networking site Facebook has lost an employment tribunal appeal after he was sacked.

December court date for Manning in WikiLeaks case

Nov 22, 2011

Bradley Manning, the US soldier alleged to have passed a trove of military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, will have a first hearing before a military court next month, the Pentagon said.

Recommended for you

Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

2 hours ago

The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Should you be worried about paid editors on Wikipedia?

7 hours ago

Whether you trust it or ignore it, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and accessed by millions of people every day. So would you trust it any more (or even less) if you knew people ...

How much do we really know about privacy on Facebook?

8 hours ago

The recent furore about the Facebook Messenger app has unearthed an interesting question: how far are we willing to allow our privacy to be pushed for our social connections? In the case of the Facebook ...

Philippines makes arrests in online extortion ring

8 hours ago

Philippine police have arrested eight suspected members of an online syndicate accused of blackmailing more than 1,000 Hong Kong and Singapore residents after luring them into exposing themselves in front of webcam, an official ...

Google to help boost Greece's tourism industry

20 hours ago

Internet giant Google will offer management courses to 3,000 tourism businesses on the island of Crete as part of an initiative to promote the sector in Greece, industry union Sete said on Thursday.

Music site SoundCloud to start paying artists

Aug 21, 2014

SoundCloud said Thursday that it will start paying artists and record companies whose music is played on the popular streaming site, a move that will bring it in line with competitors such as YouTube and Spotify.

User comments : 0