Delawar Hossain Sayedee, a leader of a Bangladesh Islamist party has undergone a trial accused of alleged crimes against humanity when the country was fighting for its independence against Pakistan. He is the first of seven suspects set to face a tribunal on charges relating to the 1971 war.
Delawar Hossain Sayedee, a leader in Bangladesh’s Jamaat-e-Islami party one of the leading opposition parties in Bangladesh, was arrested last year which includes a total of seven people from Bangladesh’s two main opposition parties, who all are facing trial regarding the above mentioned charges but they all deny the allegations and accuse the government of carrying out a vendetta.
Delawar Hossain Sayedee is charged of genocide, rape and religious persecution. However, he has vehemently denied all of them. The trial will be starting from today, and as claimed by the chief prosecutor, this trial was essential for the establishment of democracy. The chief prosecutor, Ghulam Arif Tipoo, also said the trial was essential for the establishment of rule of law and democracy, and also key to the future of Bangladesh.
These Bangladeshis are accused of collaboration with Pakistani forces, and were instrumentally helping them constantly as they were trying to stop Bangladesh becoming an independent nation.
In the period of that turmoil, more than three million people were killed and many more were left homeless. Hundreds of thousands of women were also raped during the war.
The Bangladeshi attorney general, Mahbubey Alam stated that ‘It was our moral duty, our constitutional responsibility to try these offenders’. We lost many professors, teachers, musicians – the bright sons of our country at the time of the liberation movement,
According to him, the country had waited 40 years for the trial to come to court. So it was our moral duty, our constitutional responsibility to try these offenders.
Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, is the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who declared the country independent in 1971 and became its founding president after the war, but was later assassinated. The tribunal investigating events in 1971 was set up in Dhaka last year without any involvement from the United Nations.
Human rights groups have urged the government to ensure the trials are carried out in accordance with international standards. But the government insisted that Bangladeshi law and its legal structure were competent enough to handle the trials and there’s no need to carry out the trial as per with international law.
Report by Indrani Chowdury