Don't execute Mollah, HRW urges govt
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has asked the government not to carry out the execution of condemned Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah.
In a statement today, the New York-based rights body said, "Human Rights Watch deplores the fact that he will be executed after an unfair trial and denial of a full and impartial appeal of his conviction."
"Human Rights Watch has long supported justice for war crimes committed in Bangladesh’s 1971 war of liberation. Those responsible should be brought to justice through fair trials that meet international standards. Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all circumstances," it said.
Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said, “War crimes verdicts have already led to major protests and violence this year."
“A hanging in such a controversial case in a volatile political atmosphere in the run-up to national elections will likely lead to large numbers of deaths, injuries and property damage," Adams predicted.
"Many observers believe that the government wants an execution so close to the election in order to score political points. The government should not act irresponsibly at such a volatile moment. The government and protest leaders must take all possible steps to avoid violence,” he added.
Mollah was accused of atrocities in the 1971 war of liberation and was originally sentenced to life in prison.
The government pushed through changes in the law with retroactive effect that allowed the prosecution to appeal the acquittal, the HRW statement said.
"Mollah was sentenced to death on the basis of the testimony of a woman who was 12 years old in 1971 and had changed her story," the rights body alleged.
Many governments and the United Nations have called on Bangladesh not to impose the death penalty in this case and expressed concern about the conduct of the trial, the statement said and added that HRW takes no position on Mollah’s guilt or innocence, which can only be established after a fair trial.