BNP urges int’l community for pressure on govt

Main opposition BNP urged the international community on Saturday to raise objection against the activities of the International Crimes Tribunal, identifying those as "extra-judicial violation of human rights" and the unconditional release of its senior leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury..

“The government is trying to tarnish the image of the opposition leaders through the trial process of the Tribunals” BNP standing committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed said this while addressing a press briefing at Paltan Party office in the city Saturday noon.

“Participation in the tribunal would be providing legitimacy to an illegal and unconstitutional process for extra-judicial persecution of political opponents,” he said while addressing a press conference at the BNP central office.

Maudud suggested implementation of US Ambassador at-Large for War Crimes Stephen Rapp’s recommendations to ensure fair and transparent trial.

He said BNP demands that Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury, MP, be released from custody unconditionally and that his full fundamental rights be restored to him as every other citizen of Bangladesh.

Maudud said that in response to Ambassador Rapp’s recommendations, the government insisted that the tribunal is domestic.

He said: If this is a domestic court why the government invited Ambassador Rapp to come and give his suggestion. If it is a domestic court why the government has signed the Rome Statute and covenants of the International Criminal Court?

Maudud said that after the signing of the Statutes, why the government did bother to ratify the signing by Parliament?

Maudud said that unless Rapp’s recommendations are implemented, SQ Chowdhury will not recognize this court as legitimate. As a result, until these changes are implemented, SQ Chowdhury shall have no choice but to boycott all proceedings.

“He (SQ Chowdhrury) has made this decision knowing fully that by taking this stand he will be guaranteeing the death penalty through one-way trial.”

Maudud further said that SQ Chowdhury believes that unless the same fundamental rights are given to him as all citizens of Bangladesh, his execution by way of unfair tribunal will be no more than extra-judicial killing.

“It will be the same as RAB’s crossfire,” he said, adding that BNP has no confidence in the legal framework and proceedings of the tribunal.