Bangladesh: The Hanging of Nizami and the Grip on Political Power
By*Chandra Muzaffar - Global Research, May 12, 2016
11 May 2016Region:*AsiaTheme:*Law and Justice,*Police State & Civil Rights*9*
The head of Bangladesh’s leading Islamic party, the Jamaat-e-Islami,(JI) Motiur Rahman Nizami was hanged at Dhaka Central jail at one minute past midnight on Wednesday 11 May 2016. In 2014, a death sentence was imposed on him by a special tribunal for allegedly committing genocide and rape and orchestrating the massacre of intellectuals during the 1971 war of independence when East Pakistan— what is today Bangladesh — broke away from Pakistan.
The death sentence against Nizami has been condemned by government leaders and opposition figures from a number of countries, apart from human rights organisations, other civil society groups, and intellectuals. For many of them, the so-called ‘evidence’ against Nizami was weak and appeared to be fabricated; the trial itself was faulty and the verdict was from all accounts pre-determined. The entire trial process violated established international norms and standards.
This was also true of the other four high profile political leaders executed before Nizami— a point we had made in the past. *Three of them were from the JI while the fourth was from the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Like Nizami, they were all accused of crimes committed during the 1971 war.
It is bizarre that these allegations against the five and a number of others were made only in 2010, almost 40 years after the 1971 war. No allegation of war crimes was made in the early seventies when the founder of the Bangladeshi State, the late Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (the father of the present Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina) was in charge. Even when his party, the Awami League,(AL) was in power again from 1996-2001, with his daughter at the helm, no one was hauled to court on accusations of war crimes. It was after the AL came to power a third time in 2009 that Hasina decided to move against ‘war criminals’ from the JI and the BNP.*It is partly because of this strange hiatus in time that many commentators and observers are convinced that the trials were all politically motivated. They are part of a larger scheme to weaken the JI and the BNP and to strengthen the AL’s grip upon power.
In the short run, the AL may succeed. But will it be able to perpetuate its power well into the future?
The suppression of dissent through the use of brute force — as demonstrated again and again in history — leads eventually to instability and chaos. *The perpetrators and their descendants will also have to bear the dire consequences of their suppression and oppression. The winners will then realise that they are actually the losers.
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar,*President, International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Malaysia.
The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright ©*Chandra Muzaffar, Global Research, 2016
In the early 1980s, Sayeedi started arranging waj mahfil and*tafsir. He spoke in support of Islam in different parts of the country. As he was a good orator, his fame spread quickly and he decided to enter politics.
Having gained recognition, he was elected as a member of parliament for constituency Pirojpur-1 in the*1996*and*2001 national elections of Bangladesh.
Sayeedi is fluent in*Bengali,*Urdu,*Arabic, and Punjabi and has an advanced knowledge of English and French.
After the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Sayeedi said: “Britain and America deserve all that is coming to them.
Critic of 2001 war in Afghanistan
In 2004, the United States of America Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) added Sayeedi to its No Fly List, established to prevent suspected radicals and terrorists from flying into the US.
In July 2006 Sayeedi travelled to the UK to address rallies in London and*Luton; his entry was cleared by the*foreign office.*Many British MPs considered his admission to the country to be controversial. In leaked emails reported by*The Times, an adviser, Eric Taylor, said that Sayeedi's "previous visits to the UK have been reportedly marred by violence caused by his supporters."
On 13 July 2006, the British journalist*Martin Bright*released a documentary called*Who Speaks For Muslims?*It included Sayeedi and identified him as having extreme views.
Sayeedi has a large following within the*British Bangladeshi*community. He was invited to speak at the*East London Mosque on 14 July 2006; the then-secretary general of the*Muslim Council of Britain,*Muhammad Abdul Bari, supported his invitation.
On 24 July 2009, immigration officials at Zia International Airport prevented Sayeedi from going abroad.
He challenged the Government's restriction by filing a writ petition with the High Court on 27 July. The Attorney General stated before the Chamber Judge that Mawlana Sayeedi had opposed the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. He argued that if Sayeedi was not barred from foreign travel, he might work against the government's efforts to bring justice for war crimes during that conflict.*Human Rights Watch*in November 2011 criticised the conduct of the ICT, suggesting that it has not provided enough protection for the defense of the accused. It has said that "lawyers representing the accused before the ICT have reported being harassed by state officials and threatened with arrests."
On 12 August 2009, Manik Poshari filed a war crime case in Pirojpur against Sayeedi and four others.
*His accusations dated to events during the 1971 Bangladeshi war of independence.
Mahbubul Alam Howladar, a former freedom fighter, and now member and deputy commander of the freedom fighters association called*Zianagor upazila Muktijoddha Sangsad,*filed charges against Sayeedi with the Pirojpur senior judicial magistrate's court in*Zianagar.
On 5 November 2012, Sukhranjan Bali, a prosecution witness who instead testified as a defense witness, was abducted outside the International Crimes Tribunal allegedly by the*Bangladesh Police.
Human rights group believed it to be a case of forced disappearance. Later, Bali was handed over to India's*Border Security Force, and was sentenced to prison and tortured.
"The apparent abduction of a witness in a trial at the ICT is a cause for serious concern about the conduct of the prosecution, judges and government," said a spokesperson for Human Rights Watch.
Several witnesses and an investigator working for the defense have also reported harassment by police and threats for cooperating with the defense."
"Human Rights Watch has long called for the ICT to establish an effective victim and witness program which would ensure protection for both prosecution and defense witnesses. Changes to the ICT rules in June 2011, which authorized the tribunal to ensure the physical well-being of victims and witnesses, were a welcome improvement, but did not go far enough, Human Rights Watch said."
He has also made statements calling for war against Britain and the US. Leaked emails show other Foreign Office advisers warning against him coming.
But Ali — whose salary is met by UK taxpayers — warned refusing his visa could backfire.
He wrote: “He is someone who has a very big following in the mainstream British Bangladeshi Muslim community and is viewed as a mainstream Muslim.“
Any steps taken on his exclusion from the UK must take that into account.
”Sayeedi is set to take part in the launch of a social housing project for Bangladesh in East London. He is also expected to visit the huge East London Mosque during his stay.
Doesn't one wonder?....
.....is it really anything to do with 1971 or is it more to do with the war against Islam which brother Usama warned about and which bush, blair, obama et al have continuously denied as being a significant factor behind their criminal aggressions?