05/05/2016, 13.22
BANGLADESH
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Bangladeshi Supreme Court sentences leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami to death

by Nozrul Islam

Motiur Rahman Nizami is charged with committing war crimes, genocide, rape and premeditated massacre of intellectuals. At the time, during the liberation war in 1971, he was the leader of the party’s  student wing. His execution is scheduled in a few days, unless the president pardons him. Catholic Source: "Sentence is politically motivated, but the criminal is not innocent." The abandonment of the old leaders by the new political generation.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - This morning, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh confirmed the death sentence of Motiur Rahman Nizami, leader of the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami. The four judges of the Supreme Court rejected the final appeal lodged by his lawyers, who sought an overturning of the sentence already imposed by the Court in January.

The man is accused of war crimes committed during the War of Liberation in 1971. His supporters reject the allegations and denounce Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s “political cleansing of her opponents. A Catholic source tells AsiaNews: "The sentence is certainly politically motivated. But what is also certain is that Nizami and others like him, is not innocent”.

His execution is scheduled in a few days, unless the president Abdul Hamid decides to grant clemency. Nizami, who is now 73 years old, was leader of the party’s student wing, the Islami Chhatra Sangha. In 2000 he assumed the leadership of the most popular Islamic movement in the country, and from 2001 to 2006 he was Minister of the State under the Khaleda Zia government.

He has been in prison since 2010, and in 2014 the International Criminal Court, a special judicial body created by the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to punish war criminals, sentenced him to death. Our source explains: "It is clear that Hasina wants the consent of the people, who for the large part are in favor of these trials. The goal is to regain the dignity in the eyes of the international community and to affirm respect for human rights in Bangladesh. So on the one hand the government wants to build a good self-image, on the other wants to decapitate the opposition party, which is well organized and violent. "

Prosecutors believe that Nizami is guilty of having created the pro-Pakistan militia Al-Badr, which ordered the massacre of intellectuals, doctors and journalists during the war. Their bodies were found in a swamp outside the capital, blindfolded and hands tied. AsiaNews sources confirmed the violence perpetrated by those who were the "collaborators of Pakistan was often fiercer than the soldiers themselves."

The conviction of former minister arrives in a already troubled political climate, with a growing incidence of Islamic violence, as witnessed by the killing of bloggers and intellettuals branded as "atheists". The source points out, that these violent acts are not "interpretable directly as retaliation by the Jamaat-e-Islami. Rather, the killings are due to the climate of intolerance against these democratic thinkers".

Rather the source promises the opening of new scenarios, given that the national leadership of the Jamaat-e-Islami is thinning because of death sentences carried out against leaders. "Experts in the field - he says - believe that the new generation of the party does not view this elimination of the old guard negatively, rather as a situation that will force a reorganization of the movement on a new basis. They are ready to take the reins, as soon as the law is passed which imposes the obligation to have no religious references within parties. They will give birth to a new party that will have no religious affiliations, but it will contain its ideas, because this is their cultural background".

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