|Jamaat calls hartal for tomorrow|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Abdul Quader Mollah. has called a dawn-to-dusk countrywide for tomorrow protesting death warrant against its leader |
In a this evening, the party termed the death warrant a planned conspiracy to kill .
The hartal is an addition to a 72-hour countrywide blockade that started from Saturday morning. The BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance in which Jamaat is a key component is enforcing the blockade.jamaat-logo
Earlier in the afternoon, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 issued the death warrant for the Jamaat assistant secretary general who was awarded the capital punishment for his wartime offences.
ICT registrar AKM Nasiruddin Mahmud told journalists the "warrant of execution" and copies of Supreme Court verdict were sent to Dhaka Central Jail, home ministry and Dhaka district magistrate for the execution of Mollah.
Arunav Chakraborty, a deputy registrar of the ICT, said he handed over the warrant and SC verdict copies to jail authorities around 4:15pm and the district magistrate around 4:35pm.
Another staff of the tribunal, meanwhile, took the copies of death warrant and SC verdict to the home ministry.
Earlier in the day, the copy of the full text of Supreme Court verdict awarding death penalty to Quader Mollah for war crimes reached the tribunal.
Staff of the SC registrar office along with the verdict copy and other related documents went to the tribunal's registrar office in the capital at 11:55am.
The SC on Thursday released the full text of the verdict of the Appellate Division bench, which awarded death penalty to Mollah on September 17.
The SC pronounced the judgement, overruling Mollah's life term imprisonment awarded by the International Crimes Tribunal-2.
Tajul Islam, a counsel for Mollah, told The Daily Star this afternoon that they were yet to receive the certified copy of the verdict.
There seems to be a debate among lawyers on whether Mollah has the right to move a review petition before the apex court.
|Release of Mollah verdict's full text any day|
|[Bangla Daily Star] The full text of the Supreme Court judgment that awarded death penalty to war criminal Abdul Quader Mollah is likely to be released in a few days, as judges have completed writing their shares of it.|
On September 17, the apex court sentenced the leader to death for committing crimes against humanity during the country's Liberation War in 1971, overruling the judgement of the International Crimes Tribunal-2 that awarded him life imprisonment.
The SC sources said all the five apex court judges, who delivered the verdict by majority view, have completed writing their parts of the judgement.
Now, those will be compiled and then a full-text verdict will be released, according to sources.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told The Daily Star that the government will execute the SC verdict immediately after the certified copy will be released as per the provisions of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973.
|No war criminals in Bangladesh, Claimed Mojaheed six years back after EC meeting|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Convicted war criminal Jamaat-e-Islam Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed six years ago had claimed that there were no war criminals in Bangladesh.|
Flanked by his party colleagues and the now convicted war criminals , Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, Abdul Quader Mollah, and suspected war criminals Abdus Subhan and ATM Azharul Islam, he attended a meeting with the Election Commission regarding electoral reforms on October 25, 2007.
When journalists asked him about the growing demand for declaring the anti-liberation forces and war criminals disqualified from contesting the national elections, Mojaheed had said, "The constitution does not support the demand. Besides, there are no war criminals in Bangladesh. It is the imaginary and self-created bizarre idea of those talking about war crimes... there are no anti-liberation forces in Bangladesh."
Asked about Jamaat's role in 1971 Liberation War, he had counter asked the s to investigate it themselves. About war crimes accusations against them, Mojaheed had said, "These accusations are all false and ill-motivated."
The Awami League-led grand alliance won the national elections in 2008 and as per their electoral pledge it set up an International Crimes Tribunal on March 25, 2010 to try war criminals. In 2012, it set up another tribunal for expeditious trial.
Mojaheed's statements were proven wrong when Abul Kalam Azad -- expelled Jamaat leader -- aka Bachchu Razakar was the first of the lot to be sentenced with the capital punishment for crimes against humanity and genocide.
|BNP backs Islamists' resistance|
|[Bangla Daily Star] The BNP has finally decided to counter the Gonojagoron Mancha movement by extending support to Islamist groups' agitations against the Mancha in different parts of the country.|
The main opposition party has taken the decision as it considers the Gonojagoron Mancha "a major challenge" to the BNP-led 18-party alliance's one-point movement to topple the government, sources in the BNP said.
Under the banner of 18-party alliance, the BNP also wants to "expose" the Mancha as a platform sponsored by the ruling Awami League and the government, the sources added.
The BNP was in a quandary since the beginning of the Shahbagh movement spearheaded by the Gonojagoron Mancha on February 5 following a war crimes tribunal verdict on Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah. Its leaders made confusing statements about the protests. But finally the party has taken up a strategy to use Islamic sentiments to counter the movement.
In line with its strategy, the opposition alliance at a rally in Chittagong city on Monday extended its support to radical Islamists who threatened to foil today's Gonojagoron Mancha rally there.
Hefazate Islam Bangladesh, a qaumi madrasa-based Islamist organization, has threatened to foil the rally in the port city, protesting the "anti-Islam activities of the Shahbagh atheist bloggers."
The 18-party alliance's in Chittagong Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, also chief of port city unit of the BNP, announced at Monday's rally the alliance's support to the Islamists' agitations against the Mancha.
|Bangladesh parliament amends war crime law|
|[GUARDIAN.CO.UK] Bangladesh's parliament has amended a law allowing the state to appeal against the life sentence given to an opposition leader for his role in mass killings and rape during the 1971 war for independence.|
Tens of thousands of demonstrators in central Shahbag Square cheered as the assembly approved the changes on Sunday.
Protesters have gathered in central Dhaka for the past 13 days demanding the death penalty for Abdul Quader Mollah, an assistant secretary general of the party, for war crimes. The prominent Islamist was given a life sentence by a tribunal last month, stunning many Bangladeshis.
The amendment will "empower the tribunals to try to punish any organizations, including Jamaat-e-Islami, for committing crimes during the country's liberation war in 1971", the law minister, Shafique Ahmed, said
The government is facing growing pressure to ban Jamaat-e-Islami and groups linked to it. Ahmed told s the government was considering such a ban.
Lawyers said Sunday's amendment sets a timetable for the government to appeal against Mollah's sentence and secure a retrial. The previous law did not allow state prosecutors to call for a retrial except in the case of acquittals.
|Shahbagh protesters attend janaza of murdered blogger|
|[Bangla Daily Star] The brutal killing of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haidar has strengthened the Shahbagh protesters' resolve and made them more confident of winning their battle.|
"Touching our co-fighter's coffin, we now swear not to return home leaving our demands unfulfilled," Imran H Sarker, one of the key organisers of the movement, said after Rajib's namaz-e-janaza at the venue yesterday.
"The soul of our friend will not rest in peace until the spirit of the Liberation War is upheld, Jamaat and Shibir eliminated and their politics banned," said Imran, also a blogger.
The protesters called upon the nation to fight for the justice for the killing of Rajib, who was found murdered near his house at Pallabi in the capital Friday night.
They termed Rajib a martyr and a freedom fighter of new generation and vowed to carry out his mission which was to see the war criminals hanged.
Prime Minister visited his residence in the capital's Pallabi yesterday afternoon and vowed to bring the murderers to trial.
through separate statements, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and International Committee for Democracy in Bangladesh (ICDB) expressed their solidarity with the movement.
Students and teachers of University of Asia Pacific and Institute of Architects, Bangladesh, yesterday joined the movement. Rajib was a student of the university and a member of the institute.
Spearheaded by a group of bloggers and online activists, the demonstration started on February 5, hours after Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah was given life imprisonment in a war crimes case.
The 12th straight day of the demonstration passed with protesters venting outrage at the murder of Rajib, known in the Bangla blog community as Thaba Baba.
|Rajib was targeted for his blog|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Online Jamaat-Shibir activists had branded the slain blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider as an atheist who they said should have been resisted.|
Rajib, better known by his online identity as Thaba Baba, was one of the main initiators of the movement at Shahbagh, demanding death penalty for war criminals, according to a web post on Sonarbangla, a blog run by Jamaat-Shibir activists.
An image of Rajib's Facebook page was also posted on the same blog.
On February 11, a Sonarbangla blogger with a pseudonym, Sporsher Baire (Out of Touch), wrote about the organisers of the ongoing Shahbagh movement.
Rajib was also named on the site.
After Rajib was brutally murdered in Mirpur in Dhaka on Friday, the Facebook page was not found on the site.
The Daily Star, however, had captured an image of this blog page.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission blocked the Sonarbangla blog yesterday morning.
The Bloggers and Online Activists Network has been demanding that the government block the page since it launched the protest on February 5 hours after an international crimes tribunal awarded Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah life term for war crimes.
Ahmed Rajib Haider used to write as Thaba Baba on different blogs. In his last Facebook status posted Friday afternoon, he called for banning the institutions owned by the , an ally of the BNP-led 18-party opposition, in Bangladesh.
But mysteriously, most of the writings by Thaba Baba are not available on the internet from yesterday. A few of his writings are available, but whether those were written by Thaba Baba is not clear.
According to different bloggers' posts in Facebook, Shibir cadres have continued campaigning against the activists of the movement.
For example, a person named Dhansiri Wahid in his status on Facebook termed several of Shahbagh activists as atheists.
"It is a duty of all s to kill those atheists," he said.
Wahid named Thaba Baba, Asif Mohiuddin, Bami Shial, Arif Jebotik, Doctor Aizu, Nijhum Majumder and other bloggers, saying he wanted to kill them himself.
Another Facebook account holder Farabi Shafiur Rahman in a post said the imam who conducted the namaz-e-janaza of Rajib yesterday at Shahbagh would also be killed.
This person also suggested throwing Rajib's body to tigers at the Mirpur Zoo.
Last month, another blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed at Uttara in the capital by some unknown people but he survived. Asif is a friend of the activists of Shahbagh movement.
|Jamaat, Shibir try a few tricks to counter Shahbagh outrage|
|[Bangla Daily Star] In desperation, and are applying various strategies to occupy Paltan or any other important intersections of the capital to offset the Shahbagh movement.|
Their techniques include not wearing their traditional outfit -- pyjama and punjabi -- during their "operations," police and Jamaat sources say.
"Apart from this strategy, Jamaat-Shibir has recently decided to mobilise activists and intellectuals from other Islamic organizations, especially those patronised by Jamaat," a top detective told The Daily Star on Wednesday.
Law enforcement agencies say Jamaat was already in a crisis following the start of war crimes trial against its six top leaders. The crisis deepened when protesters at Shahbagh movement called for death sentence to all war criminals, including its leader Abdul Quader Mollah.
Against such a backdrop, Jamaat has also been planning to interchange its "trained cadres" between districts to carry out attacks and vandalism, law enforcers said.
"These tactics sometimes help avert arrest as those activists are unknown to locals and law enforcers," a top police official said, requesting to remain unidentified.
Also speaking anonymously, a top leader of Jamaat from Chittagong division admitted this without giving any details.
Sources say Jamaat is also planning to engage its low-profile leaders and think-tank of less known like-minded organizations to get hold of an important intersection under the banner of olama-mashaek organizations.
Several Jamaat leaders themselves have told this paper that the party has never before faced such a political crisis since 1979, when it re-entered politics Bangladesh.
After the war crimes trial started in 2010, nine of its top leaders were on war crimes charges. Six of them are facing trial and cases against the three others are under investigation.
The latest blow came on February 5, when a group of online activists rejecting the verdict against Quader Mollah, an assistant secretary general of the party, who was given a life sentence.
Protesters want death sentence for Mollah and all other war criminals, and a ban on Jamaat-Shibir politics.
In the changed situation, Jamaat-Shibir on Wednesday moved to seize the city's Paltan intersection, south gate of Baitul Mukarram, Dainik Bangla intersection or Motijheel Shapla Chattar. But police foiled the move.
"We are determined to stage the same type of demonstration again until our demands are met," said a divisional-level Jamaat leader.
The party demand includes scrapping of the two tribunals formed to try the war criminals, and releasing all the Jamaat leaders detained on war crimes charges.
Since the start of its violent attacks on law enforcers in November 2012, Jamaat and Shibir have been applying various strategies to carry out attacks and vandalism across the country.
In some cases, it was a hit-and-run strategy. In other cases, Jamaat-Shibir men chanted "Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu," a slogan used by the Awami League, before attacking police, detectives say, adding: "This is just to create confusion."
The party is also patronising anti-Ahmadiyya organizations including Tehrik-e-Khatme Nabuwwat to wage anti-Ahmadiyya movement afresh.
Jamaat is also patronising anti-Ahmadiyya elements to bring so-called Islamic leaders from Pakistain and India to wage a hate campaign in different discussions in Bangladesh.
In a surprising move, the newly formed Islamist party Tehrik-e-Khatme Nabuwwat on January 3 held a rally against Ahmadiyyas, a minority community, in the capital.
Well-placed sources say Jamaat was patronising Tehrik-e-Khatme Nabuwwat to create unrest in the country in the name of an anti-Ahmadiyya movement and keep the administration busy.
Under the banner of Khatme Nabuwwat Preservation Committee, a meeting was held in Gazipur on February 3 demanding that Ahmadiyyas be declared non- . Three anti-Ahmadiyya Islamic scholars, including Hanif Jalandari from Pakistain, spoke at the meeting.
Earlier in 2010, Jamaat and its associate organizations adopted a strategy of using Bangabandhu's name to continue with their activities among the children of different districts.
In doing so, Jamaat on March 18, 2010, opened a stall under the banner of Shishu Kantha Sangsad at a children's fair at Rajshahi Shishu Academy marking the 90th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu and the National Children's Day.
|[Bangla Daily Star] They are the biggest rallies in Bangladesh for at least two decades. Hundreds of thousands of protesters gather peacefully each day in Dhaka, demanding vengeance against a bearded political figure, Abdul Quader Mollah. Their numbers swell daily: ordinary people furious that, despite his conviction for dreadful crimes during the Liberation War in 1971, Mollah faces only a life sentence.|
The rallies began on February 5 after online activists called for protests at Shahbagh, a busy intersection in central Dhaka. They want Mollah and others on trial to face the death penalty. He was convicted by the International Crimes Tribunal, a local court set up by the government of to prosecute men, largely from an Islamic opposition party, accused of murder, torture, rape and other wartime atrocities. When, somewhat unexpectedly, Mollah was spared a death sentence, he was seen flicking supporters a V-for-victory sign. That smug gesture may have helped to provoke the outrage. Shahbagh has given its name to the protests, though some now dub it "new generation roundabout", hinting at broad aspirations for political change. Families attend, with toddlers sporting bandannas bearing slogans that call for the death penalty. Television coverage helps to draw the crowds. The sight of young, otherwise progressive Bangladeshis seeking capital punishment, through music, street theatre, chants and recitals, is both moving and unsettling. Almost no one pays heed to known flaws in the trial.
Both the ruling Awami League and, belatedly, the main opposition BNP have fallen in with the protests. Senior politicians from the ruling party have attempted to co-opt the demonstrations, but their efforts to speak to the crowd were firmly rebuffed. Still, the League could get a boost. Sheikh Hasina honoured her promise to hold war-crimes trials. In parliament this week she also spoke up for the death penalty, saying that even impartial judges must listen to public opinion. Next, the parliament is expected today to amend the act behind the war-crimes court so that the government can appeal against verdicts. Mollah's reprieve may be short-lived.
Matters are trickier for the BNP, which dallied for eight days before joining the protesters. It had more to lose, in particular a useful electoral alliance with the biggest Islamist party, the , whose leaders comprise most of those on trial. In the end, so many BNP supporters went off to join the Shahbagh protests that the party had no choice. Protesters say that their movement is a narrow one against political Islam: in favour of secular government, they want Jamaat banned. A rampage by Jamaat's violent youth wing has done nothing to damp down such calls. The government, which has already brought back an explicitly secular constitution from 1972, may soon feel ready to move.
Yet, as with any big protests, further political demands may emerge. The protests could become a plea for broad change. Few like a political system dominated by a long, bitter fight between a pair of self-serving dynasties, those of Sheikh Hasina and the BNP's , and their stave-wielding followers. If that duopoly were broken up, many at Shahbagh would celebrate.
|Bangla police kill three Islamist protesters|
|Bangladeshi police on Friday gunned down three Islamist activists who were protesting against two of their leaders’ convictions for war crimes, while even larger demonstrations calling for the men to be executed continued for an 11th day.|
A tribunal sentenced Abdul Quader Mollah to life in prison on February 5 for war crimes including murder, rape and torture. Most Bangladeshis had expected a death sentence to be handed to Mollah, assistant secretary-general of Jamaat-e-Islami – the country’s biggest Islamist party.
Tens of thousands have protested every day in more than a dozen cities since the sentencing, demanding the execution of Mollah and others convicted of war crimes. In Dhaka, demonstrations have attracted crowds of more than 100,000.
However the judgment – which followed the conviction of another former Jamaat leader on similar charges last month – also led to smaller counter-protests around the country, involving around 5,000 Jamaat activists in total.
The deaths on Friday took place in the southeastern town of Cox’s Bazar town, a popular tourist resort, during battles between police and Jamaat activists. Police said they opened fire after teargas failed to disperse the activists.
The town’s police chief Mohammad Azad Mia said his officers had used guns after Islamists had first opened fire, set off dozens of crude bombs and hurled stones and bricks. He said, “We had to open fire in self defence, as the Islamist militants turned on law enforcers."
At least 30 activists were wounded in Cox’s Bazar and more than 150 arrested on Friday, while eight police were injured.
Jamaat has called for a two-day strike in Cox’s Bazar over the weekend and a day-long national strike on Monday to protest the killings. Local reports said hundreds of tourists, including some foreigners, were fleeing the town, anticipating more violence.
|Youths submit do-list for JS|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Shahbagh protesters yesterday submitted a six-point charter to the Speaker, demanding death penalty for all war criminals, including Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah, and revocation of the state's power to grant them amnesty.|
A five-member delegation of Bloggers and Online Activist Network that initiated the protest met Speaker Abdul Hamid at his office in the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban and placed their demands.
The other demands include an amendment to the International Crimes Tribunal Act, allowing appeals against inadequate punishment and disposal of appeals from both the defence and the prosecution within three months of their filing.
The collaborators, who had been either convicted or under trial but set free from jail after political changeover following the coup on August 15, 1975, must be brought to book, the protesters said.
Abdul Hamid said he would send copies of the charter to Leader of the House , Leader of Opposition in Parliament and other ministers concerned for taking necessary actions.
This is the first formal move by the bloggers and online activists since they occupied the capital's Shahbagh intersection on February 5 in protest at an international crimes tribunal awarding Quader Mollah life term instead of capital punishment.
|BNP baffled by youth factor|
|[Bangla Daily Star] BNP is left bewildered by the dramatic developments in the last one week, as the party appears undecided whether to back its ally wholeheartedly over the war crimes trial or endorse the youths demanding exemplary punishment to war criminals.|
Senior BNP leader Toriqul Islam on Monday said his party would not support Jamaat's demand for scrapping the war crimes tribunals.
The same day, Jamaat, which continued its vandalism and attacks on law enforcers across the country, warned of a civil war unless the tribunals are scrapped and its leaders are freed.
Against this backdrop, when International Crimes Tribunal-2 sentenced Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah to life imprisonment for war crimes on Tuesday, hundreds of youths led by a group of bloggers poured into Shahbagh demanding death penalty for Mollah.
BNP perceived the youths as ruling party supporters, who were up to a new political game.
But as the protesters refused to allow any AL leaders to speak at the Shahbagh gathering over the next few days, it became increasingly clear that the gathering was apolitical. The protests have practically shaken Jamaat's confidence about the future of its movement.
By detaching itself from such a mass protest, a major party like BNP is actually distancing itself from the youths and also from the pro-liberation forces, said a number of senior BNP leaders.
Talking to The Daily Star, a section of BNP policymakers said they want to observe the Shahbagh movement for another couple of days to be sure that the movement is apolitical.
"Of course, the Shahbagh movement is a general people's movement. And we salute them," said acting BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
BNP leader Sadeque Hossain Khoka told a rally yesterday that they respect the youths' emotions about the Liberation War, but at the same time the youths should raise voice against the government's corruption.
BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed told The Daily Star, "There was no doubt that the agitation was initiated by a group of youths spontaneously. But later we saw that the ruling party, its ministers and its student wing Bangladesh played a major role in the movement."
Admitting that his party was still hesitant about extending support to the protesters, Moudud said BNP high-ups will meet in a couple of days to come to a decision about the party's position on the issue.
Asking not to be named, a number of BNP standing committee members told The Daily Star that BNP would suffer if it fails to read the youths' mind. They were not sure about the position of the party's top leadership on the issue.
"We should support the youths' movement even if it goes against our electoral ally Jamaat," a BNP leader said wishing anonymity.
Another BNP leader observed that the party was in a dilemma about the youths' movement, as both the Jamaat issue and youths' support are closely intertwined with it.