Dhaka, Jan 13 (bdnews24.com) – State minister for law Qamrul Islam on Friday warned of tougher action against anyone creating chaos to obstruct the war crimes trial.
“Jamaat-e-Islami has gone violent to obstruct the trial. They (Jamaat activists) are carrying out criminal activities and creating disorder,” Qamrul said during a discussion at the Liberation War Museum in the capital’s Segunbagicha.
“They’d been spared for different activities in the past but now they will not be spared any more. The trial of the offenders will be done under the Speedy Trial Act.”
Five top Jamaat leaders, a senior Jamaat leader, and a former minister from the main opposition BNP are currently behind bars after their arrest over alleged involvement in crimes against humanity – including murder, rape, arson, genocide and looting – committed during the Liberation War in 1971.
Both the BNP and Jamaat are opposing the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), which is trying the suspected war criminals.
The Jamaat activists brought out protest rallies in different parts of the country, including Dhaka, after the tribunal on Wednesday sent Jamaat’s former chief Ghulam Azam to jail on the same charges.
Seventeen Jamaat activists were arrested in the capital the same day.
‘BNP, JAMAAT IN SAME BOAT’
Qamrul alleged that both the BNP and Jamaat are against all trials and that they do not want rule of law and fair trial.
“They didn’t try Zia’s (late president and BNP founder Ziaur Rahman) murder. It’s their character to take position against trials,” he claimed.
Qamrul alleged that BNP did not react on Ghulam Azam’s arrest since the party “realised that the trial can’t be obstructed”.
He said the trial of seven or eight identified top war criminals would be completed by this year.
Claiming that Azam had got back his Bangladeshi citizenship due to a “wrong trial”, Qamrul said, “We don’t want to hold any wrong trial. No latitude will be given to question the (ongoing) trial — it will be a role model for dispensation of justice all over the world.”
A Pakistani citizen until 1994, Azam had allegedly led the infamous ‘peace committees’ and collaborated with the Pakistan army in 1971. He also advocated for a unified Pakistan in the Middle East during the Liberation War, according to the prosecution.
Azam stayed in London for seven years after 1971 and returned to Bangladesh in 1978 during Ziaur Rahman’s rule. He led Jamaat as its ‘aamir’ (chief) till 2000.
Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnessa Mujib Parishad organised Friday’s discussion, titled ‘Bangabandhu and Bangladesh’.
Chaired by the organisation’s president Abdul Mannan Chowdhury, the programme was addressed, among others, by Meher Afroz Chumki MP, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) managing director Azizul Islam, and Krisak League’s organising secretary M A Karim.