Amnesty opposes death sentence
In a significant development, Amnesty International condemned last week's execution of five military men found guilty of killing Bangladesh's founding leader, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
In a statement issued on Monday, the London-based human rights watchdog noted that six other men sentenced to death in their absence in the same case are living outside. Bangladesh government is seeking their extradition.
“The execution of these five men will make their extradition highly unlikely. There is a high risk that they, too, might be executed,” the Amnesty International said.
It observed that family members of the convicts also live in fear of being attacked by political activists of the ruling Awami League party. Quoting media reports, it said Awami League activists led by a local AL leader attacked the house of Aziz Pasha, one of a total of 12 persons sentenced to death for killing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in Tetra village in Harirampur Upazila in Manikganj on January 31.
The Amnesty called on the government to establish an impartial and independent investigation into this attack. “The government should publicly condemn any such attacks and bring anyone involved to justice,” it said.
The international HR agency said Amnesty International opposes the execution of these five men, which “should never have taken place”. It added: the haste in which the executions were carried out raises serious questions about the timing and procedures for these executions.
It called on the government to ensure transparency about its handling of this case.
The HR watchdog said the August 15, 1975 killings of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members were grave human rights abuses, and those who committed them should be brought to justice.
“However, bringing people to justice must not in itself violate the human rights of the accused,” said the Amnesty International opposing the death penalty in all cases “regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner”.