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Bangladesh: Protesters Demand Capital Punishment for 1971 War Criminals
Written by পান্থ রহমান রেজা (Pantha)Translated by Rezwan On 7 February 2013 @ 4:23 am | 17 Comments
In Bangla, Bangladesh, Breaking News, Citizen Media, Digital Activism, Feature, Governance, History, Law, Photos, Politics, Protest, South Asia, Weblog, Youth
Forty-two years. That's how long Bangladeshis have awaited justice for the horrific crimes committed against them during their fight for liberation from Pakistan. And on February 5, 2013, Abdul Quader Mollah, the secretary general of Bangladesh's Islamist party Jamaat-e Islami  was sentenced to life in prison  for murder, rape, torture and other crimes committed during the 1971 liberation war.
But tens of thousands feel that justice has not been served. They want him hanged. And they are occupying capital city Dhaka's Shahbagh  intersection to show their resolve. Protests are spreading like wild fire across the country.
Jamaat-e Islami rejected Mollah's verdict and enforced a dawn-to-dusk strike on Tuesday and Wednesday  disrupting life in the country. (The full verdict by the International Crimes Tribunal  can be found here .)
Bloggers played a vital role in building pressure to try Mollah and other accused war criminals, many of whom are politicians with the Islamist party, and expedite a process that has been on hold for 42 years.
So its no surprise that bloggers are central to organizing the ongoing protests. The Bloggers and Online Activists Network  (BOAN) created a Facebook event to invite people to occupy Shahbagh square, protest against the strike and demand the death penalty for Mollah. About 70,000 people have been invited to event and more than 7000 people have confirmed they are joining.
Shahbagh, the Tahrir Sqaure of Bangladesh
The last few days were full of protests and rallies at Shahbagh. Processions from all over the city joined the crowd of about 15,000-20,000 people, bringing the scenes of Tahrir square  during 2011 Egyptian revolution to Dhaka. People are singing protest songs, reciting poems, and screening films and documentaries on Bangladesh's liberation war.
Pavel Mohitul Alam  updates his Facebook status from Shahbagh:
Shahbagh is full of processions, slogans and singing. Thousands of people from all walks of life are joining in protests using candle lights and are carrying torches. A band will start playing live soon. Please join us.
Journalist and writer Imtiar Shamim  writes at Muktangon blog [bn]:
…This Shahbagh will soon be extended to other cities- It will beat the fear of civil war by fringe elements who envisage colonial intervention, who will clinch victory by confirming justice for the war criminals.
Besides Dhaka, there has been news of similar protests in cities like Chittagong, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Khulna, Comilla, Mymensingh and Rangpur. People are gathering in large numbers raising their voices for the highest punishment for the war criminals.
Rayhan Rashid writes  on Facebook about spreading the protests across the country:
The fire has spread from city to city. I just want to be one of those hundreds of thousands of people….
During the 1971 liberation war an estimated 3 million people  were killed by the Pakistani army and approximately 250,000 women were raped. Local political and religious militia groups like Razakar , Al Badr  and Al-Shams , many of whom were also members of Jamaat-e-Islami, aided Pakistani soldiers in killing, particularly targeting Hindus.
Abdul Quader Mollah , also known as ‘Butcher’ to the Bengalis in Mirpur area, was a senior leader of the Razakar force. He lead many mass murders in Mirpur area. The International Crimes Tribunal was formed after 42 years of the independence to try the perpetrators of the crimes against humanity during the liberation war of Bangladesh. The first verdict of the ICT  was against Abul Kalam Azad alias ‘Bachchu Razakar”, who was sentenced to death for his involvement in crimes against humanity during 1971.
Outrage at the Verdict
When Quader Mollah was sentenced to life imprisonment (peoples’ anticipation was death penalty), many expressed their outrage on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Elora Leelith  demands a “Razakar and war criminal free” Bangladesh:
My first child will be born on 7 of February. I wish its generation will see a Razakar and war criminal free Bangladesh. I want capital punishment for Quader Mollah and gang.
Hazrat Binoy Bhodroe  asks the Tribunal on Twitter:
@hazratb9bhodroe  Honorable Tribunal, how many deaths have to be proven to get a death sentence?
Allegations against Abdul Quader Mollah
There were six indictments against Abdul Quader Mollah. The trial has proven his association in three of these and direct involvement  in two killings. He was acquitted on one charge. The indictments are related to the following incidents:
Appeal against this verdict
It is not clear whether there can be an appeal against the verdict. But blogger Omi Rahman Pial  pleads:
The appeal against the acquittal of Quader Mollah against the Keraniganj killing is the key. This protests should pressurize the government prosecution team to appeal against that acquittal. 344 people were killed and he was known as the ‘butcher’. Such cruelty should beget more than just life imprisonment.
According to the latest updates, the prosecution team of the ICT has taken a policy decision  to appeal against the verdict to enhance Mollah's sentence. Bangladesh is one of 58 countries that still actively practices capital punishment .
Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org
URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/02/07/bangladesh-protesters-demand-capital-punishment-for-1971-war-criminals/
URLs in this post:
 Jamaat-e Islami: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaat-e-Islami_Bangladesh
 sentenced to life in prison: http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2013/02/05/molla-sentenced-to-life-in-jail
 Shahbagh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahbag
 Tuesday and Wednesday: http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2013/02/06/jamaat-shutdown-on
 International Crimes Tribunal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Crimes_Tribunal_(Bangladesh)
 can be found here: http://www.priyo.com/files/kaderMolla_full_verdict.pdf
 Image: https://www.facebook.com/events/500274583347447/
 Bloggers and Online Activists Network: http://www.facebook.com/events/500274583347447/
 Image: http://www.demotix.com/news/1774653/al-bcl-leaders-du-teachers-join-shagbagh-demo#media-1774600
 Tahrir square: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahrir_square
 Pavel Mohitul Alam: http://www.facebook.com/pavel.hottogoal
 ICSF: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.485212154869703.113646.108286975895558&type=1
 Kazi Sudipto: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.491905004179156.98274.407235582646099&type=3
 Imtiar Shamim: http://nirmaaan.com/blog/imtiar/7275
 Rayhan Rashid writes: http://www.facebook.com/rayhan.rashid
 Image: http://www.demotix.com/news/1775355/mass-rally-shahbagh-friday#media-1775320
 3 million people: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh_genocide
 Razakar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razakars_(Bangladesh)
 Al Badr: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Badr_(East_Pakistan)
 Al-Shams: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Shams_(Bangladesh)
 Abdul Quader Mollah: http://bd71.blogspot.com/2007/12/abdul-kader-mollah.html
 first verdict of the ICT: http://www.banglanews24.com/English/detailsnews.php?nssl=59396f7414f89991d14c6fa956924bc1&nttl=2013012162452
 Elora Leelith: http://www.facebook.com/elora.leelith
 Hazrat Binoy Bhodroe: http://globalvoicesonline.orghazrat binoy bhodroe @hazratb9bhodroe
 @hazratb9bhodroe: https://twitter.com/hazratb9bhodroe/status/298680590465658880
 proven his association in three of these and direct involvement: http://www.dailyprimenews.com/details.php?id=6146
 Omi Rahman Pial: http://www.amarblog.com/omipial/posts/158867
 taken a policy decision: http://bangla.bdnews24.com/bangladesh/article587676.bdnews
 capital punishment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment
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