Bangladesh Bar Council rebukes harassment of Government Intelligence agencies on the Defence Counsels at the International Crimes Tribunal

11 Oct

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Statement of Mr. Khandker Mahbub Hossain, Vice Chairman Bar Council protesting the action of the Police in conducting a raid in the chambers of a lawyer and harassing lawyers in the discharge of their professional responsibilities:

Dear Journalists,

Greetings. We note with concern that various government intelligence agencies have been harassing lawyers in a completely unlawful manner in order to prevent them from performing their professional responsibilities. As Vice-Chairman of the Bangladesh Bar Council, which represents lawyers across the country, I, on behalf of all the lawyers, strongly protest and condemn such action.

On 9th October 2012, armed Police of the Detective Branch unlawfully raided the Chambers of Advocate Tajul Islam, one of the leading lawyers engaged in the International Crimes Tribunal, Dhaka and harassed lawyers, clients and employees present in his chambers. This is extremely worrying. If in a civilized country, such raids are allowed to be conducted in the chambers of lawyers, the Constitution will be violated and the Rule of Law will become nugatory. Lawyers are Officers of the Court and all communications in the discharge of their professional responsibilities are considered to be ‘privileged’. By conducting a raid in the chambers of a lawyer, the Police has violated the right of a lawyer to perform his professional duties. In such a situation, it has become impossible for lawyers to fearlessly represent litigants seeking justice.

We want to make it absolutely and abundantly clear that each and every single citizen of the country has the right to seek the protection of law – this is a constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right. To harass a lawyer is to violate such constitutionally protected fundamental right. In the past no government had dared to engage in such excesses. This is a serious threat to the Rule of Law and the administration of justice.

We also note with serious concern that another Senior Advocate, Barrister Abdur Razzaq is being harassed in the name of surveillance by intelligence agencies so as to prevent him from discharging his professional responsibilities in the International Crimes Tribunal. We want to warn everyone that if a lawyer is prevented him from discharging his professional responsibilities, we will consider it as an attack against the entire legal profession, which we will resist with the assistance of lawyers across the country.

We hope that good sense will prevail with the authorities.

Thank you very much.

Khandker Mahbub Hossain
Vice Chairman, Bangladesh Bar Council
Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh

11th October 2012

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