Published:  02:58 AM, 23 June 2024

Mueen-Uddin wins bid to revive libel case against UK govt

Mueen-Uddin wins bid to revive libel case against UK govt

Britain's highest court has allowed Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, a Bangladeshi war crimes convict

living in London as a citizen for decades, to revive his libel action against the home secretary.

The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the lower courts to strike out the claim as an abuse of process

and confirmed that Mueen-Uddin should be permitted to pursue his claim at trial, according to Solicitors Journal, bdnews24 reports.

The legal periodical published in the UK reported on Thursday that Lord Reed, president of the Supreme Court, observed: "it is difficult to imagine a graver allegation than guilt of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the allegation is especially grave when it is made by the government of this country against one of its own citizens."

Mueen-Uddin's claim relates to the publication by the Home Office in 2019 of allegations of complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Bangladesh war of independence in 1971.

Mueen-Uddin has lived in the United Kingdom since 1973 and been a UK citizen since 1984.
The International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh in 2013 found Mueen-Uddin guilty in absentia of abducting, torturing and murdering nine Dhaka University teachers, six journalists and three doctors during the war.

Al-Badr leader Ashrafuzzaman Khan, who was sentenced to death alongside Mueen-Uddin in the same case, is living in the US.
The two were central leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami's student front Islami Chhatra Sangha.

Following the verdict, Mueen-Uddin told in an exclusive interview that he would not hang, though those who tried him might.
He fled to the UK after the Liberation War, gained citizenship, became a director of the National Health Service and had four children with his wife Farida, reports The Sun.

According to The Daily Mail, his neighbours did not know of his conviction for war crimes.
In his reaction to the Supreme Court judgment, Mueen-Uddin described himself as a "proud and longstanding British citizen who has placed his faith in our justice system", according to the Solicitors Journal report.

"It had been dispiriting to have been refused the right to seek to vindicate my reputation over such serious and false allegations made by my own government. I am delighted that, more than four years after my initial complaint, I am now once again able to pursue that vindication, which I consider to be several years overdue."

Mueen-Uddin was represented by a Carter-Ruck team led by Adam Tudor, along with a counsel team comprising Jacob Dean and Lily Walker-Parr of 5RB.

Six years after the ICT conviction, in 2019 the Home Office published a report prepared by the Commission for Countering Extremism, a non-statutory committee of the Home Office, entitled "Challenging Hateful Extremism".

As well as being circulated in hard copy, the report was downloaded online around 5,000 times and may have reached over 900,000 followers of the Home Office's social media accounts.

As the High Court has found, the report referred to Mueen-Uddin in terms that readers would have understood to mean that he was one of those responsible for, and had committed, war crimes during the 1971 war.

Following Mueen-Uddin's initial letter of complaint sent through Carter-Ruck in December 2019, the Home Office refused to apologise or agree to his other demands for redress, instead limiting its response to removing the offending words from the online version of the report.

Mueen-Uddin then sued for libel and the home secretary applied to the court to strike out his claim, asserting that it was an abuse of process.

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