Volume 2 Issue 48 | January 3 , 2008 |


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Behind the Scene

From Mymensingh

Advocate Mutaleb: A Tribute

Aminul Islam

HE established himself among his colleagues not only as a lawyer of international repute but also as a man with deep and serious concerns for people of all walks of life. The senior-most advocate of the Mymensingh Bar, MA Mutaleb died at a hospital in Dhaka July 11 this year. He was 70.

After long suffering from lung cancer and other old age complications, he left this world forever, but his contributions and philosophy will stay with the people whose lives he touched. He left behind two sons, relatives and a host of colleagues to mourn his death.

Advocate Mutaleb was born in the village Nunni in Nalitabari of Sherpur district in 1938. Son of late Abdul Hamid and Late Mostafa Khatun, he studied law to live free and help others. He joined the legal profession in 1965. He worked with the government in Mymensingh and also practised in the Supreme Court. He married Feroza Akhtar in 1963 who has also passed away. Though he had a reputation for his philanthropic activities and his legal work, he was truly a man behind the scenes.

He was the Founder President of Liberty International. Liberty International was granted special status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations. Late Advocate Mutaleb has also published on various legal issues like of human rights and torture of prisoners, contempt of court, The Ombudsman Concept, defense of the indigent and legal aid, plea for a strong judiciary, independence of justice, human rights day, delay in disposal of cases, human rights violation in Uganda, law reforms.

Liberty International is a brainchild of Advocate Mutaleb, now an International Human Rights Organisation to protect human rights, fundamental freedoms and world peace.

Ex-Director of Asian Legal Research Institute (Japan), M.A Mutaleb also worked with National Bar Association of Bangladesh as its founder member, Vice-President of National Bar Association of Bangladesh, elected member of Bangladesh Bar Council, past members of International Ombudsman Institute (Canada) and International Bar Association (England), Executive Council member of All Asia Bar Association, and was the editor of Mymensingh Bar Annual Journal for a long time since 1980.

For his contributions, the Mymensingh Bar honoured him with a crest. He also worked with Leonard King, Chief Justice of Australia and JC Anderson, Chairman of the Bar Council of what was then known as Rhodesia.

Advocate Mutaleb was invited to many international seminars. He attended a seminar on "Minimum Standards of Judicial Independence" in 1981 invited by the Chief Justice Jules Deschenes, Superior Court of Quebec, Canada. He also attended the World Conference on The Independence of Justice held in Montreal and led the Asian Legal Research Institute in 1983. He was also invited to International Legal Aid Conference in Tokyo, Japan in 1984. Japan Legal Aid Society published a research paper in English and Advocate Mutaleb worked behind that publication.

He was the recipient of Sangsad Professor and Sangsad Ratna awards from World Development Parliament of India for his contributions to the fields of Law and Human Rights, Advocate Mutaleb was also selected as the "Outstanding Intellectual of the 20th Century" by International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England. The Union of International Associations, Brussels published his life sketch in 1995.

Many of his books were published by reputed publishers in and outside the country. The Dhaka Law Reports published his work Mohammedan Law of Gifts, Judicial Independence, came out from the Netherlands.

For his lifelong contribution to the field of legal practice, he was nominated for Ramon Magsaysay Award (Manila) and was also nominated for the Reebok Human Rights Award in USA.

M.A. Mutaleb was also a contributor to The Daily Star, The Bangladesh Observer, The Dhaka Law Reports, Sangbad. His articles have appeared in a variety of international journals.

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