07/16/2013, 00.00
BANGLADESH

Violence erupts in Bangladesh after verdict against former Islamic leader

by Sumon Corraya
90 year-old Ghulam Azam sentenced to 90 years in prison for war crimes. The verdict sparks explosions, clashes and scenes of urban warfare all over Bangladesh for national hartal (strikes) organized by supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic Party) and secular activists of Gonojagoron Mancha. Four people die, including a child.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Four dead, including a 9 year old girl and dozens of wounded, buses, shops and private cars vandalized and set on fire. This is the provisional toll from the National hartal (strike) called in Bangladesh, after the verdict issued yesterday by the International Crimes Tribunal  in Dhaka. The court sentenced 91 year old Islamist leader and former president of Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic Party), Ghulam Azam to 90 years in jail, for his role in the crimes committed during the Independence War (1971). A ruling that left everyone unhappy: the supporters of the Jamaat, are demanding their leaders absolution, Gonojagoron Mancha civil rights activists instead say the sentence is too light and call for the death penalty.

The courts have recognized Azam guilty of all the charges: murder, torture of unarmed people, conspiracy, incitement and complicity in genocide. Being 91, by law the judges spared Ghulam the death penalty.

Yesterday, there were demonstrations inside and outside the courtroom. Gonojagoron Mancha activists gathered in Shahbagh, district of Dhaka considered the "Tahrir Square" of Bangladesh, calling for the death penalty. Today both the Islamic party that secular movement have called for a hartal, which as expected has turned into urban warfare.

Activists of Jamaat and Islami Chhatra Shibir (student wing of the party), detonated 11 homemade bombs in Chittagong, nine in Comilla and one in Narayanganj. Of the four deaths, two are students of the Islami Chhatra Shibir, killed in clashes with the police. The others are a 60 year old man, who was killed in Dinajpur by bricks thrown by some picketers, and a 9 year old girl, knocked down in Gazipur by a bus trying to flee the violence.

 

 

Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
Closed-door discussion in UN over war crimes in Gaza. Abbas in the eye of the storm
07/10/2009
Ramos-Horta loses E Timor presidential election, Guterres and Ruak in runoff
19/03/2012
Catholic Bishop calls on political leaders to talk and stop death and violence
04/12/2013
Strike causes “holiday” in Bangladesh but also impoverishes people
04/07/2011
Bangladesh hangs another Islamic Jamaat party leader
05/09/2016 13:15