Three dead in new Bangladesh war crimes protests: Police

The deaths brought the total number killed since a war crimes tribunal delivered its first verdict to at least 56.


Afp March 02, 2013
Police walk past piles of paper set alight by activists from 12 parties in front of the national mosque in Dhaka February 22, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

CHITTAGONG: Bangladesh police on Saturday opened fire at rebels protesting the conviction for war crimes of one of their leaders, killing three people outside the port city of Chittagong.

The deaths brought the total number killed since a war crimes tribunal delivered its first verdict on January 21 to at least 56, according to police figures.

The number includes 40 who have died in the last three days, since Jamaat-e-Islami party vice president Delwar Hossain Sayedee was sentenced to death, police said.

Sayedee was found guilty on Thursday of murder, religious persecution and rape during the 1971 independence war, triggering violent clashes between rampaging Jamaat supporters and police across the country.

The 73-year-old was the third person to be convicted by the war crimes tribunal, whose verdicts have been met by outrage.

The latest violence came a day after the United States called for calm in the impoverished South Asian nation.

"While engaging in a peaceful protest is a fundamental democratic right, we believe violence is never the answer," US State Department deputy acting spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters in Washington.

But he stressed the United States believes "it is important to bring justice to those who have committed war crimes and atrocities" while ensuring that the trials be "free, fair, transparent".

In the new clashes, police said they fired live rounds after hundreds of student activists of Jamaat barricaded a key highway and attacked officers with stones and sticks as they tried to clear the road.

"We were forced to open fire. Three people were killed in the clashes," senior Chittagong police official Rabiul Islam told AFP, adding 10 people, including policemen, were wounded.

The war crimes trials of a dozen Jamaat and main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leaders have opened old wounds and divided the nation.

The opposition has accused the government of staging a witch hunt.

The government, which says the war claimed three million lives, rejects the claims and accuses Jamaat leaders of being part of pro-Pakistani militias blamed for much of the carnage during the 1971 independence war.

Independent estimates put the death toll from the war in which Bangladesh won its independence from Pakistan at a much lower figure of 300,000 to 500,000.

COMMENTS (2)

Raj - USA | 8 years ago | Reply

When I say, I admire Bangladesh & Bangladeshis and its present government, I really mean what I am saying. They are patriotic and care for their country. They want to wipe out the sectarian forces and the Islamic brainwashed fundamentalists who are still in large numbers. Bangladesh is a country that has a very small army and its defense expenditure is very minimal. Just imagine if it were Pakistan. Such court verdict would have engulfed the country and everyone would be out on the streets with guns. How many guns do we see on the streets in Bangladesh now in Bangladesh. The violence on the streets is very minimal and we see very few guns, that too only in the hands of police. Even the law enforcement is mostly armed with sticks. They are people who can think. Pakistan as a country and 80% of its population are parasites that spread disease of a permeative mindset throughout the world. Pakistan's leaded of Jamat, much respected and revered in Pakistan says that woman should not even complain if she is raped and if the rape has not been witnessed by four independent adult males. This leader is representing the country, all its citizens, and leading the negotiations with TTP. Its Oxford educated leader has been preaching the same for years. Look out how the crowd came out to surround Rinkle, firing guns and playing inspirational songs. They say one Pakistani muslim is equal to a thousand hindus. Yet they required thousands of gun wielding mob to surround one unarmed girl. This is the courage and valor of the great muslims of Pakistan !!!! The society or media, when exposed and shamed, did not take it up but only tried to cover it up. So did the courts and all major political parties. Then comes Maya to bring a divine (devilish) message on Ramzan. Then comes the government with an eye wash commission and Ansar Brunei with his one day statements without any sincerity. There have been thousands of Rinkles, Ashas, and Latha's, and is still continuing. Pakistan and Pakistani's are confused as to who they are, what they are, and even their origin. Such a country has no hope. The fun part is that all along for the past 65 years, every Pakistani was proud of this line of thinking. I am really very happy for Bangladeshis that they separated. Otherwise they would be living in the stone ages, just like Pakistan is living now. I only wish Afghanistan learns from Bangladesh and not from Pakistan. However, Pakistan will still try its best to bring along Afghanistan to join them in the stone age, but Afghans have to be aware and alert.

rp | 8 years ago | Reply

how many years this person lived alive aftter commiting crimes he should have bee hanged before

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