Government firm on executing war crimes tribunal verdicts: Bangladesh minister

New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) The Bangladesh government is firm on executing the verdict of a war crimes tribunal and is awaiting the Supreme Court’s final verdict in July, Bangladesh Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said here Friday.

Maintaining that the proceedings of the war crimes tribunal, which went into excesses committed by Islamists during the country’s liberation war in 1971, are “open and transparent”, Inu said: “The government is firm on executing the verdict.. By July the Supreme Court will giver its final verdict,” he told a media gathering here.

“The sentences will be carried out soon,” he said.

He also said that the Islamists did “dalali” for Pakistan during the liberation war, which led to creation of Bangladesh from East Pakistan.

“They would say ‘Stop India to protect Islam’, but the slogan was not accepted by the people of Bangladesh.. the people voted for democracy and secularism,” he said.

He said the Islamists were trying to indulge in “goondaism” and added that the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party of Khaleda Zia had come out openly in support of the Islamists.

The country’s war tribunal in March had sentenced Bangladeshi politician Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, to death for murder, torture, and rape during the 1971 war.

The Bangladesh government in March moved the Supreme Court seeking death penalty for Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah, who escaped with life imprisonment from a war crimes court for committing “crimes against humanity” during the independence war.

Inu had said on Thursday that the government may consider banning the Jamaat if armed cadres of the Islamist party continue to indulge in violence and terrorist acts.

The Jamaat, a constituent of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led 18-party opposition alliance, is a registered political party. Its cadres have been on the streets, indulging in violence, to protest the conviction of some of its leaders by a war crimes tribunal for killings and rapes committed during the 1971 war of liberation.

Inu said the Jamaat as a political party has to abide by the Election Commission’s directives. The Bangladesh Election Commission can ban the Jamaat if it violates rules, so can the courts and the government, said Inu during a talk on the “Current Situation in Bangladesh” at Jamia Millia Islamia here.

“The Jamaat is indulging in armed activities,” said Inu.

The Sheikh Hasina government is also watching to see how a case in the Bangladesh High Court challenging the registration of Jamaat as a political party will turn out, said Inu, who heads Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, a constituent of the ruling alliance.

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