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Hasina's lawyers seek change of court PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 05 September 2008

MiG-29 trial

Desk Report

Lawyers on Wednesday expressed no-confidence in the court trying former prime minister Sheikh Hasina and six other accused in the MiG-29 corruption case and appealed for a change of the trial court.

The trial of the case started on August 20 when the court framed charges against all the accused persons.
Hasina's counsel advocate Qamrul Islam told, "The present court and its judge don't seem inclined to dispense justice in the case, we're afraid.

That's why we've submitted to the court that the trial court may be changed so that we may expect justice dispensed in the case."
The lawyers challenged the charge framing and appealed to the court to defer any proceedings in the case as Dhaka divisional special judge Golam Mortuza Mojumdar moved to record witness depositions in his special court set up in the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban complex.
The lawyers said they would appeal in the higher court against the charge framing conducted by the court and therefore, the court proceedings should be halted until then.
The prosecution, however, opposed the defence submission and the judge started recording the plaintiff's testimony.
The defence lawyers then submitted a 'no-confidence' prayer, when the judge asked them to file appeal in the higher court within Sept 20.
The court on Aug 12 had ordered all accused, including Hasina, to appear in court on Aug 20 for charge framing.
Advocate Sahara Khatun stood on Hasina's behalf during the indictment and plea.
The judge read out the charges against the accused, and asked them for their innocent or guilty plea. All the accused pleaded innocent.
The now defunct Anti-corruption Bureau filed the case on Dec 11, 2001, accusing the seven of inflicting losses of Tk 700 crore on the state through the purchase of eight MiG-29 combat jets.
Charges were pressed on Jan 29, 2003, though the case later remained suspended for years as Hasina petitioned the High Court to quash the case.
Other accused are former air force chief retired Air Vice Marshal Jamaluddin Ahmed, former defence secretary Syed Yusuf Hossain, former defence joint secretary Mohammad Hossain Sherniabat, retired Air Commodore Mirza Akhtar Maruf and Unique Group proprietor businessman Noor Ali.
The other accused, former army chief Mustafizur Rahman, died on Aug 3 this year.
Hasina, who is currently in the US seeking medical treatment on a temporary release order from the government, was exempted from personal appearance in the case on June. Her release is valid up to Sept 6.

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