Bangladesh SC overturns ruling against Hasina's trial

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Dhaka, Dec 13 (UNI) The Bangladesh Supreme Court today overruled the High Court order that had stayed the trial of former prime minister Sheikh Hasina in an extortion case at a makeshift court.

The High Court last Sunday had stayed the trial proceedings in a three crore taka extortion case against Sheikh Hasina, following a writ petition filed by her.

The High Court had also issued a rule upon the military backed government to explain why the holding of the trial of Ms Hasina and two others at a makeshift court should not be declared ''without lawful authority''.

In the wake of the High Court order, trial court judge Azizul Haque today postponed the trial proceedings against the former prime minister for next three months until March 8, 2008.

Meanwhile, the appellate division headed by Chief Justice M Ruhul Amin stayed the High Court order clearing the holding of trial at the makeshift court in the high-secured parliament building complex where Ms Hasina has been kept detained in a makeshift jail since July 16 this year.

This is for the third time that the Appellate Division upset the High Court orders in three phases concerning the arrest of Sheikh Hasina and the extortion case filed against her.

Sharply reacting to the Appellate Division order, a top counsel for Ms Hasina, Barrister Shafique Ahmed told newsmen that it was ''unheard of'' without hearing the other side. He said they were ''surprised and disappointed''.

''In my 40 years legal profession, I have never experienced such an event in the highest court of law,'' Barrister Shafique said.

Asked whether he finds the Supreme Court order biased, Barrister Shafique termed it an ''exparte decision'', citing legal maxim justice should not only be done but it must be seen to have been done.

After today's development, trial Judge Azizul Haque said he would take next course of action after receiving the certified copy of the Supreme Court orders.


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