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Cablegate: Journalist's Sedition Case Hearing Uneventful

VZCZCXRO6924
PP RUEHCI
DE RUEHKA #6261 2851112
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121112Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2125
INFO RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 8749
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1313
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 7602
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 9402
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL CALCUTTA

UNCLAS DHAKA 006261

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM BG
SUBJECT: JOURNALIST'S SEDITION CASE HEARING UNEVENTFUL

REF: A. DHAKA 06225

B. DHAKA 06257

1. (SBU) On October 12, the Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Court
held a charge framing hearing on the sedition case against
journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury. An Embassy observer
was present for the hearing, which lasted just five minutes.
The defense attempted to compel the court to review a
decision regarding plane tickets submitted as evidence, but
the judge dismissed the defense motion. The judge set
November 13 for the first witnesses to be heard in the case.

2. (SBU) POLOFF spoke with Choudhury by phone after the
hearing to check on his status. Choudhury confirmed that the
case would resume in November. He also claimed the judge was
"biased" and that the judge had refused to listen to the
defense case regarding the evidence.

3. (SBU) Also on October 12, Charge d'Affaires reiterated to
Home Minister of State Lutfozzaman Babar that the Embassy
remains very engaged in the Choudhury case, and that the case
has the attention of Washington. She restated the Embassy's
concern that Choudhury get due process, and asked again that
his safety be guaranteed. Babar said that he has been
personally engaged on Choudhury's case for two years, there
is a long history regarding Choudhury, and that he fully
understands and appreciates the USG position. He repeated
his assurances of Choudhury's safety and said he had sent
undercover police to Choudhury's home for added protection.
Choudhury subsequently confirmed to POLOFF that police
protection had arrived at his home at 1100 hrs local.

4. (SBU) COMMENT. We will continue to monitor Choudhury's
case closely, including his sedition trial set for November
13. END COMMENT.
PASI

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