Jamaat rejects judgment | The Daily Star
12:42 AM, July 16, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:02 AM, July 16, 2013

Jamaat rejects judgment

AL pleased, BNP silent

The Jamaat-e-Islami yesterday rejected the verdict against its former chief Ghulam Azam; the ruling Awami League appreciated it while the main opposition BNP is saving its reaction to the conviction for later.
In a press release, Jamaat acting Secretary General Rafiqul Islam said the International Crimes Tribunal's verdict against Ghulam Azam was nothing but a reflection of what the AL-led 14-party alliance leaders had said against him [Ghulam Azam] at different meetings.
Rafiqul, who has been on the run for several months for making provocative and derogatory comments on the war crimes tribunal, said the prosecution could not prove any of the 61 charges brought against Ghulam Azam.
He also said that in the verdict, a statement was made against the Jamaat although no allegation had been brought against the Jamaat as a political organisation in the case. "This is totally irrelevant, unexpected and illegal," he added.
"This proves that the verdict was given to implement government will and under political consideration," reads the Jamaat statement, which also demanded the immediate release of its former leader.
Protesting the verdict, the key component in the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance yesterday announced the enforcement of a countrywide daylong hartal today [Tuesday].
Just 15 minutes before the Jamaat announcement, the Gonojagoron Mancha, a youth movement that demands maximum punishment for war criminals, also declared a countrywide daylong hartal for today.
Meanwhile, The Daily Star last night contacted some senior BNP leaders, including Moudud Ahmed, to know the party's stance over the conviction of Ghulam Azam.
All the BNP leaders said the party spokesperson and its top person at the helm would give a reaction on the "sensitive issue".
In the afternoon, Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif at a press briefing in his party chief's Dhanmondi office said, "The people of the country expected the death penalty for the infamous war criminal. But the court has awarded him 90 years' imprisonment. I think we are happy with the verdict."
He urged all not to create any chaos over the verdict.
Hanif, also a special assistant to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said: “We do not know whether there is any example in the world of such a verdict that considered the physical illness of a person.”
Asked whether the AL had reached a compromise with the Jamaat, Hanif said, “Sheikh Hasina assumed power pledging to try the war criminals. Many lives were lost centring around the verdict, but she did not shift her stance.”
However, the Workers' Party, an AL ally, came down heavily on the verdict saying that it was not acceptable.
“Ghulam Azam did not consider women, children and old people while killing them during the Liberation War. He, as the main collaborator of the Pakistan army, formed Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams forces and genocide was carried out across the country under his direction,” Rashed Khan Menon, chief of the party, said in a press release.
The notorious war criminal [Ghulam Azam] could not be spared under any consideration, the release added.

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