FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 18, 2006
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard L. Benkin, Ph.D.; 847-922-6426;
Noted International Human Rights Attorney, Irwin Cotler, joins Shoaib's
Chicago, IL -In a development that underscored the growing seriousness of
the Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury case, noted International Human Rights
attor-ney, Professor Irwin Cotler, has joined the Muslim journalist's
defense team as international legal counsel. Choudhury was imprisoned and
tortured by Bangla-deshi authorities after writing about the rise of radical
Islam in that country, promoting peace with Israel, and advocating
interfaith dialogue. Choudhury is now faces charges of "sedition, treason,
and blasphemy" for which he could be put to death. Cotler's has previously
acted as counsel for Nelson Mandela, Andrei Sakharov, Natan Sharansky and
Saad Edin Ibrahim, among others.
On December 7, 2006, Cotler, a member of the Canadian Parliament, addressed
that body describing Choudhury's persecution and adding, "As counsel for Mr.
Choudhury and as one who, while as minister of justice, was engaged in a
joint Canada-Bangladesh rule of law project, I call upon the Bangladesh
authorities to respect the rule of law, to review and, as appears just and
appropriate, to drop the charges while working to apprehend those who have
violated Mr. Choudhury's rights."
Cotler, an expert in comparative, constitutional and criminal law, has
identified eight violations of Choudhury's rights under Bangladesh law -
including holding him in solitary confinement for seventeen months while
denying him the right to a fair hearing before an impartial judge - that
warrant quashing the charges, which as Cotler says, are otherwise "unfounded
in fact and wrong in law".
Resolutions urging the Bangladeshi government to drop the admittedly false
charges have been approved or introduced by several nations including the
United States and the European Union.
Last week, the Bangladeshi High Court summarily rejected Choudhury's motion
to investigate the case's validity. In an ex parte communication, one judge
complained that Choudhury's real problem was that "as a Muslim, [he should
not have] told the Christians and Jews about the [Islamist] radicals."
Choudhury's attorney, S N Goswami-who called it "an honor" to work with
Cotler-said he would consult his noted colleague as he prepared an appeal.