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Cablegate: High Court to Hear Appeal in Journalist's Sedition

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RR RUEHCI
DE RUEHKA #0550 0940928
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040928Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3703
INFO RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 9014
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 7856
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1579
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 9788
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL CALCUTTA

UNCLAS DHAKA 000550

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL BG
SUBJECT: HIGH COURT TO HEAR APPEAL IN JOURNALIST'S SEDITION
CASE

1. (SBU) The trial of Salahuddin Shoaib Choudhury, the
Bangladeshi journalist charged with sedition, remains
postponed pending a High Court Appellate Branch ruling on
Choudhury's appeal on the denial of a petition to dismiss the
case. The Attorney General's office, which will represent the
government during the High Court hearing, told us the case
has now been stayed for one month while they examine the
file.

2. (SBU) Choudhury told POLOFF he had received "positive"
signs from the High Court in recent weeks, and views the stay
as an indication the government might be backing away from
taking the case to trial. Choudhury said government contacts
cited Embassy interventions and the Congressional House
resolution as contributing to the government's desire to see
the case dismissed. Choudhury also said he was receiving new
legal assistance from former Canadian Minister of Justice
Irvin Cutler, and that Cutler had persuaded prominent
Bangladeshi barrister Dr. Kemal Hossain, who he knows
personally, to assist with Choudhury's case.

3. (SBU) The Attorney General's office offered a different
reason for the delay, explaining that the postponement of the
High Court hearing was due to a backlog of appeals of the
recent higher-profile anti-corruption cases.

4. (SBU) Embassy continues to monitor the case closely.
POLOFF speaks to Choudhury regularly and Embassy is planning
to send an observer to the High Court hearing once it is
scheduled.
BUTENIS

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