Saturday, 28 September 2013

Bangladesh: Demonstration in front of UN during Hasina's Speech: Stop Judicial Killing

The following is being released by the Coalition for Bangladeshi American Association:

A crowd of Bangladeshi Americans gathered today to demonstration in front of the United Nations building between 47th street and 1st avenue at 4 p.m. as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina delivered her speech at the UN General Assembly. Protestors carried banners and posters demanding a stop to the judicial murder of opposition leaders. They carried pictures of opposition leaders including Professor Ghulam Azam, Motiur Rahman Nizami, Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, Qamaruzzaman, Abdul Qader Mollah and Mir Qasem Ali, demanding their immediate release.

The organizers stated that the so-called "International Crimes Tribunal," under which these leaders are being tried, is acting as an arm of the regime's oppression and summarily executing the opposition leaders rather than following minimum standards of international law. This kangaroo court handed their verdict of life sentence to Mollah on February 5, 2013 on six charges in absence of any eye witnesses. The Government subsequently ratified the right of appeal post-verdict so the prosecution could seek higher penalty on appeal. The judges of the appellate bench are hand-picked notorious government party activists. The appellate division reflected the Government's wish by handing Mollah a death sentence and now seeking to execute him without right to review – a fundamental right after appeals processes. If the review is denied, there will be no room to save Mollah from the gallows. It will be the first in 250 years of legal history that a person will be executed without any rights of appeal. This type of cold blooded murder of the opposition leaders by the regime has no room in the civilized world.

The Bangladesh Government has an obligation to maintain international standards in criminal trials. Bangladesh has signed and is party to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 (ICCPR). Bangladesh has also signed the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1984. Thus any police investigation and criminal trials must comply with this treaty obligation. Most importantly, on March 2010 Bangladesh ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Thus any war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh must comply with the international obligations.

The protest organizers demanded that the Bangladesh Government stop these atrocities immediately in the interest of protecting innocent lives and ensuring good governance and a harmonious political atmosphere prevails in Bangladesh.

Another demonstration is organized by the same group in front of New York Hilton on Saturday the 28th where Hasina is scheduled to get a reception.

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