Dhaka: Bangladesh`s high-powered war crimes tribunal has served a show cause notice to a private TV channel and several persons, demanding an explanation for their "scandalous statements" about its trial process.
"The accused know it well that the trial proceeding against (war crimes) accused Salauddin Quader Chowdhury is underway and yet they made comments on the case and criticised the tribunal proceedings," the three-member International Crimes Tribunal led by Justice Fazle Kabir said.
The panel observed that such criticism would "cast doubts on the proceedings of the tribunal" and directed the respondents to submit their explanation about their "scandalous statements" by October 10.
Channel 24 on September 18 broadcast a talk show on the trial of Chowdhury, a lawmaker of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The tribunal recently wrapped up the hearing, saying a verdict would be delivered soon.
The tribunal learnt about the talk show when prosecution lawyer Zead Al Mamun called it "biased, baseless, utterly false, fabricated and ill-motivated". Mamun filed a petition seeking court action.
The contempt charge was brought against nine persons, including the managing director of the channel, the show`s guest anchor, political analyst Mahmudur Rahman Manna, participants Zafrullah Chowdhury and Mahfuz Ullah.
The prosecution filed a petition on Tuesday against five top officials of the private channel, the anchor of talk show Muktobaak and two participants who had commented on the trial against Chowdhury.
The prosecution sought the issue of a contempt order by the tribunal, a ban on further broadcasts, circulation or use in any manner or in any other form the "scandalous statements" on the talk show and the sentencing of the accused to imprisonment for one year and or an adequate fine if their guilt is proven.