The International Crimes Tribunal – 2 (ICT-2) of Bangladesh has awarded highest punishment to Mr. Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and Mr. Ashrafuzzaman Khan. The trial which was held jointly in absentia found Mr. Mueen-Uddin and Mr. Khan guilty of abducting, torturing and murdering nine Dhaka University teachers, six journalists and three doctors during the Liberation War of Bangladesh of 1971 when the duo served as leading operators of a murderous Gestapo like militia outfit known as Al-Badr force. All 11 charges against them were found to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The International Crimes Strategy Forum (ICSF) lauds the verdict passed by the ICT-2 and acknowledges it as one step forward in Bangladesh’s attempt to ending impunity for core international crimes committed during 1971.
Mr. Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and Mr. Ashrafuzzaman Khan are widely believed to be currently residing in London, UK and New York, USA respectively. With the objective of apprehending both convicts, ICSF urges the Bangladesh Government to issue alerts on all international airports. ICSF also calls upon the Bangladesh Government to engage in active diplomacy with concerned States in order to either ensure the handing over of the two convicts so that the sentences against them may be implemented in Bangladesh or come to an understanding where the sentences may be enforced as appropriate in the States where they are currently residing.
The ICSF expresses grave concern over the biased coverages of the trials of Mr. Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and Mr. Ashrafuzzaman Khan in the British media. It extends a plea towards the British media to not pose the one-sided claims of the defence counsel of Mr. Mueen-Uddin and Mr. Khan as “facts”. Such practices not only distorts “historic truths” confirmed by the court of law of a sovereign State but also undermines the immeasurable sacrifices of families who suffered at the hands of Mr. Mueen-Uddin and Mr. Khan. If the British media finds discomfort in giving due credit to the findings of the ICT-2 of Bangladesh (which by no means it shouldn’t), it may consider reading the reports of various international organisations during and immediately after the war, including the report by the International Commission of Jurists entitled “Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Events in East Pakistan, 1971” published in 1972. These reports categorically confirmed the murders of Bengali intellectuals between the dates of December 2-14, 1971 by members of the Al Badr, the abovementioned militant wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami – the political party which collaborated with the Pakistan Army in the aggression against the Bengali -populace in 1971. It is worth noting that the ICT-2 has unearthed that Mr. Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and Mr. Ashrafuzzaman as leaders of the Al Badr was the “Chief Planner” and “Operation-in-Charge” respectively of the killing missions of Bengali intellectuals during December 1971.
On this momentous occasion, ICSF would like to extend its heartfelt congratulations to all activists across the globe who contributed in the efforts to bringing to account the crimes committed by Mr. Mueen-Uddin and Mr. Khan. The road ahead remains unfinished. There is still a long way to go.