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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

[ALOCHONA] Shafiullah termed ‘coward, liar’ by SC judge

NEWAGE 28/10/09
Shafiullah termed 'coward,
liar' by SC judge

Staff Correspondent

An Appellate Division judge on Tuesday termed former army chief KM Shafiullah 'coward' and 'liar' for his role on August 15, 1975 when the country's first president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and all but two of his family were killed.
   Justice Md Abdul Aziz, one judge of the five-member Appellate Division bench, uttered the words when Abdur Razzaque Khan, the counsel for Death Row convict Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, was questioning the validity of Shafiullah's deposition in the case.
   Razzaque said that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman first contacted the then army chief and sought his help, and said, 'Shafiullah, your army has encircled my house and Sheikh Kamal may be killed, so please send a force.'
   Shafiullah replied, 'Sir, can you get out of the house? Let me see what I can do for you.'
   When Razzaque told the court that Shafiullah's reply as an army chief could not acceptable to anybody, Justice Aziz replied, 'He may be a liar or a coward…But what is your benefit from Shafiullah's negligence of duty?'
   The presiding judge, Justice Tafazzul Islam, pointed out that two army officers were convicted for negligence of duty after the mutiny on 30 May, 1981 when former president Ziaur Rahman was killed
   Razzaque said that those army officers who were involved in the carnage on 15 August are now behind the scenes but Shahriar had to be put on trial for his appearance in the radio station and Bangabhaban.
   He told the court that all the Awami League leaders, except Shah Mozzamem Hossain and KM Obaidur Rahman, were members of President Khandakar Mushtaque Ahmed's cabinet, but they were not made accused in the case.
   He also said that it was not right to convict Shahriar of killing Sheikh Mujibur Rahman just because of his presence in the radio station and Bangabhaban.
   Referring to the High Court's observations on Shahriar, Razzaque again pointed out that he was convicted because of his appearance at the radio station and Bangabhaban on 15 August, 1975. The High Court also said that Shahriar was a beneficiary of the killings as he was rewarded by a job in a foreign mission on 3 November, 1975.
   'Shahriar was convicted without enough discussion of the High Court's observations,' Razzaque added. 'We can't consider the verdict to be complete as the court's findings on Shahriar were not strong enough to sentence him for murder.'
   Razzaque also argued that the presence of the accused at the scene of the crime is necessary for justifying a death sentence but the High Court had not taken that into account.
   The hearing will resume today when Razzaque is expected to complete his argument.

BTV still govt's propaganda
tool: JS body

Staff Correspondent

A Jatiya Sangsad panel has observed the state-run Bangladesh Television still remains the government's propaganda machine and it must improve its news standard to compete with private channels.
   'News presentation of state-owned television looks more like advertisement of government activities. Such a public perception is not good for democracy,' the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on information ministry, Obaidul Kader, said after a meeting of the committee.
   The members of the panel resented the "below-standard" news presentation by the public broadcasting authority asking its management to improve its quality in the interest of viewers and democracy.
   The BTV has still been doing what it had done during the tenures of the past governments.
   Presided over by the committee chairman, the meeting observed that a number of new television channels would be coming to the fray and the state-run TV would require to compete with them to survive.
   'The authorities must understand that news is a commodity and it has to be sold,' the chairman said, adding that the committee had earlier asked BTV management to improve the quality of both programmes and news presentation.
   The meeting however observed that the quality of programme has slightly improved while that of news presentation remained worse.
   The meeting, also attended by information minister Abul Kalam Azad, and other members of the committee formed two sub-committees to look into alleged irregularities in Bangladesh Film Development Corporation and irregularities related to appointment of employees in the state-run news agency, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.
   The subcommittees were asked to report back by November 30.
   The meeting also asked the ministry to take measures for bringing an end to legal battle related to the office building of the BSS.


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