‘Amnesty International does not care about war martyrs’
Slamming Amnesty International (AI) for its “controversial statement” over the trial of two war crimes convicts, the Sector Commanders’ Forum-Liberation War’71 said the rights body does not care about the martyrs of the liberation war rather it upholds the view of the defence in the Bangladesh war crimes trial.
“To draw any equivalence between the freedom fighters who fought for the fundamental democratic rights of their nation, and the war criminals, who trampled the electoral verdict and attacked unarmed civilians systematically and brutally, is no doubt a wilful blindness on the part of Amnesty International,” said the Forum in a letter to AI and its Secretary General Salil Shetty.
“To raise the issue in the context of the ongoing trials is also a deliberate provocation,” reads the letter sent on November 4, condemning the rights watchdog’s press release issued on October 27, and asked to withdraw its statement or rectify it with suitable words of logic.
The Forum yesterday organised a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club where its Secretary General Haroon Habib read out the sent letter.
“By issuing a statement like this, the Amnesty International had also commented on a sub-judice matter, which we consider a clear interference into the judicial process of a sovereign country,” said Haroon Habib, who on behalf of the Forum signed the letter.
“Your press release, sadly has clearly reflected the views of the defence in the Bangladesh war crimes trials. The statement also made us believe that AI didn’t care about the history of Bangladesh Liberation War when three million people were butchered and nearly half a million women were raped,” reads the letter.
Habib said, “The western world itself had set the norm of the war crimes trials during the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials and if according to your view the Bangladesh Freedom fighters have to face trial along with the war criminals then what would happen to the allies of the World War II?”
“While referring to the criminal acts, AI deliberately avoided the internationally recognized terminology of ‘genocide’ and ‘crimes against humanity’, the crimes Pakistani forces and their local cohorts committed in Bangladesh…It is unfortunate that Amnesty International also became a part of the campaign to deny Bangladesh genocide which is an insult to millions who perished,” the letter said.
Habib said as per the death penalty that exists in the Bangladesh national law, it cannot be undone now, until and unless there is consensus in the nation and major countries of the world also endorse that.
“We do not claim that there cannot be any criticism of the trial process, but critical observations should not blur the right to justice, significance to end the immunity and commitment of the court to follow due process of law,” said the forum.
In its statement, the AI said two opposition politicians face ‘Imminent hanging’ for crimes committed during the 1971 Independence war after ‘serious flaws occurred in their trial and appeal process’.
Barrister Tureen Afroz said AI does not find the killing of 3 million martyrs and raping of a quarter million women as crimes against humanity. They rather raise issue of humanity when the trials of war criminals are held.
Their biased support for war criminals is detestable, she said calling upon the new generation who nurture the spirit of liberation war to combat the neo anti-liberation force.
Among others, Fourm’s Senior Vice Chairman Abu Osman Chowdhury and Vice-president Harun ur Rashid were present at the press conference.