Massive Rally in Bangladesh Demanding Death Penalty for the Islamist Party Leaders
Protests against the life-in-prison sentencing of a senior leader of Bangladesh’s biggest Islamist party -Jamaat-e-Islami, for crimes against humanity in the Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence, are continuing into their fourth day. Many people are outraged that he was not given the death penalty.
Abdul Quader Mollah, 64, was found guilty by the International Tribunal-2. He was charged with murder, rape, torture, and arson, including some large-scale massacres in the Mirpur area of Dhaka, during Bangladesh’s war to break away from Pakistan.
Thousands of people are attending the protests that were initiated by the Blogger and Activists Network last Tuesday afternoon, rejecting the verdict of Abdul Quader Mollah. Original protesters, along with many more people from blogs and social networking sites, gathered at Dhaka’s Shahbag square, demanding capital punishment of the Mollah.
Earlier in the week, CNN quoted a student of Dhaka University: “For four decades, we have remained quiet with the hope that one day these war criminals will be sentenced to death. We cannot accept their lifetime imprisonment,” said Shoaib.
The tribunal was set up by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010, to investigate abuses during the 1971 war where an estimated three million people died, and thousands of women were raped. Her critics say she is using the issue as a political weapon against the two biggest opposition parties, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami.
Other people, including two from the main opposition party BNP are awaiting trials by the tribunal.
Both Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP are denying the accusations that they helped the Pakistani Army commit war crimes. They are demanding that the government dissolve the tribunal and release all of its leaders facing trial. BNP officials are calling the tribunal a “farce.”
Bangladesh was designated as part of Pakistan at the end of British rule in 1947, and it became an independent country after the war between Bangladeshi nationalists, who were backed by India, and Pakistani forces in 1971.
Image Credit: www.pakistanaffairs.pk
This article was edited by Jeri Walker-Bickett