Bangladesh war crime suspects demand retrial

By AFP
Published: December 24, 2012
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In this photo taken on February 1, 1972, Bengali refugees try to board a truck to return to their country after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, in Kolkata. PHOTO: AFP

In this photo taken on February 1, 1972, Bengali refugees try to board a truck to return to their country after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, in Kolkata. PHOTO: AFP

DHAKA: Bangladeshi leaders demanded a retrial Monday for war crimes, including genocide, saying a leaked transcript of phone calls showed the trial judge had come under pressure to deliver a quick verdict.

Lawyers representing Motiur Rahman Nizami, who is head of the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party, Ghulam Azam and Delawar Hossain Sayedee had filed petitions before a court in Dhaka, defence lawyer Tanvir Ahmed said.

“The court started hearing two petitions today,” he told AFP.

Eleven suspects who are either members of Jamaat and or the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) are accused of committing crimes such as murder, rape and religious persecution during the 1971 war against Pakistan.

Both Jamaat and BNP have called the trial process, which began in December 2010, “politically motivated”.

The push for a retrial comes after a pro-opposition daily published excerpts from a series of phone calls that the presiding judge held via Skype with a Brussels-based legal expert, prompting the judge to resign on December 11.

The excerpts showed that Nizamul Huq was not only under pressure from the government to deliver a quick verdict but that he also took advice from the expert on how to word the charges against the defendants.

In his demand for a retrial, another defence lawyer Moudud Ahmed said Huq’s comments had “contaminated the whole process”.

The court has since banned publication of the phone transcripts, parts of which are now available on YouTube. A prosecutor has also sued the editor of the newspaper, accusing him of sedition and cyber crimes.

Muslim-majority Bangladesh, which was formerly called East Pakistan, separated from then-West Pakistan after a nine-month long struggle in 1971.

The current government says up to three million people were killed in the war, many murdered by locals collaborating with Pakistani forces.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Abdullah khan
    Dec 24, 2012 - 4:58PM

    Sirsyed Ahmad khan Hate Bengalies. He consider them The sons of Traitors he said Bengali are selfish people and even he didnot consider Muslims. In macca I met one person when I asked was he bengali he was annoyed.and told he ws not. Bengali ,he was Indian which shows that the indian muslims Also hate them.Recommend

  • Aasdj1As.com
    Dec 24, 2012 - 6:20PM

    Its good they are requesting this

    Recommend

  • Aasdj1As.com
    Dec 24, 2012 - 6:23PM

    oh man

    Recommend

  • sabi
    Dec 24, 2012 - 7:05PM

    Where are the three million grave yards??

    Recommend

  • sajid
    Dec 24, 2012 - 7:07PM

    @Abdullah khan: do think Bengalis are traitors that’s why they separated…??? u seem educated but u r ignorant…go, n study the history why they separated from Pakistan…they separated cuz u oppressed them, u bullied them, u built buildings n roads in Islamabad out of the money they earned…I think they r nice people n had right to prosper on their own…

    Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Dec 24, 2012 - 8:47PM

    @Abdullah khan:
    Orly?
    But, for Bengalis, there wouldn’t have been a Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Dec 24, 2012 - 9:23PM

    India will bulldoze pakistan, will eat you up for breakfast.

    Recommend

  • What the ........?
    Dec 24, 2012 - 9:38PM

    @Jai:

    strong textIndia will bulldoze pakistan, will eat you up for breakfast.

    Just remember: Pakistani nuclear missiles can hit every single city in India.

    Recommend

  • qzj00
    Dec 24, 2012 - 9:47PM

    @Abdullah khan:

    As @Sajid mentioned, your comments reflect extreme ignorance! Bangladesh indeed separated from Pakistan because of the constant oppression that was dished out to her over the years.

    Having said that, I do believe in fair trails and if the Judge has acknowledged that he was under pressure, this surely calls for a new trial.

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Dec 24, 2012 - 10:39PM

    @What the ……..?: dont be a fool and talk about a nuclear war with india……..

    Recommend

  • Karim
    Dec 25, 2012 - 12:10AM

    America and Israel are doing war crimes from last 20 years, who will ask for their deeds :) Every one is asking Pakistanis to do this and that “Ukhaar lo jo Ukhaarna hai” :P
    Nahi mangtay jao maafi :D

    Recommend

  • Ehtesham Mallick
    Jan 21, 2013 - 6:16PM

    In my opinion the War Crimes committee must checked to them who killed thousands of Urdu Speakings in Main Capitals and the other district Capitals Like Mymensingh, Santahar, Bogra, Barisal, Rangpur, Dinajpur and others parts of Bangladesh, who left their properties,wealth in Bangladesh after March 25, 1971. Now they are living in 66 camps of Bangladesh and demanding Repatriation to Pakistan whereas, their services for the East Pakistan now Bangladesh cannot forgotted, they have worked hard for Railways, Telegraphs, Postal, Roads, Transports after independence from Britain.

    Recommend

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