No scope for Canadian lawyer to see Hasina: IG prisons
Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Sheikh HasinaStaff Correspondent

Prison authorities have not allowed Sheikh Hasina's Canadian lawyer Payam Akhavan access to the former prime minister in jail. Inspector general of prisons Brig Gen Zakir Hassan said Tuesday they cannot allow Akhavan to see Hasina since there was no provision for such in the Jail Code.

Akhavan arrived in Dhaka Monday seeking permission to see Hasina, now detained in a special jail on the Sangsad Bhaban premises.

A foreign lawyer may be granted access to a foreign national detained in a Bangladesh prison through the intervention of the diplomatic mission of the country, and only if Bangladesh allows it, the IG said.

But the Jail Code does not allow for a foreign lawyer to have access to any Bangladeshi detainee, he said.

"Since he wants to see a Bangladeshi citizen in jail, that's not possible," he said. Hasan Mahmud, special assistant to Hasina, said Monday that the Canadian lawyer wished to visit Hasina and Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim in jail.

He said Akhavan, a professor of McGill University in Montreal, had acted as an adviser to international tribunals that had tried war criminals in Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Hasina's counsel Barrister Shafique Ahmed said the Canadian lawyer would not participate in the hearing of the case involving charges of extortion by businessman Azam J Chowdhury.

"But he will act as an observer and adviser. He will look into trial documents and observe whether the trial is a public one or otherwise," he said.

"If necessary, he will join the hearing later." Missile kills 10 in NW Pakistan: security official(DC) BANNU, Pakistan, Reuters - A missile strike on a house in the North Waziristan region of northwest Pakistan killed 10 suspected militants, a security official said on Tuesday.

"Ten militants were killed when a missile hit a house in Torkhali," an intelligence official who declined to be identified said of the late Monday blast. Torkhali is a village near the town of Mir Ali.

Military spokesmen were not immediately available for comment. Residents of the area said at least two drones had been flying over the area on Monday night but it was not clear if the missile had been fired from one of them.

Militants were not allowing anyone to approach the house on Tuesday, said one resident, Fida Wazir.

US forces in neighbouring Afghanistan have fired missiles at militants on the Pakistani side of the border several times in recent years.

Neither US nor Pakistani authorities officially confirm US missile attacks on Pakistani territory, which would be a compromise of Pakistani sovereignty.

Pakistan, an important US ally despite widespread public opposition to the US-led campaign against terrorism, says foreign troops would never be allowed to operate on its territory.

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