The BBC report on the “UK Muslim community leader” namely Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin has been indicted in Bangladesh has a statement by his lawyer Toby Cadman.
Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin strongly denies any role in the murder of 18 intellectuals in December of that year.
He is alleged to have been a member of the Al-Badr group, which identified and killed pro-independence activists.
He is accused with another alleged Al-Badr member, Ashrafuzzaman Khan, a United States citizen.
His lawyers have rejected all the allegations against him. They say that none of the accusations have ever been formally put to him and there has been no attempt to question him.
“The statements made by members of the government of Bangladesh are grossly defamatory to my client, wholly untrue and are refuted in their entirety,” his lawyer Toby Cadman told the BBC.
Cadman’s statement is covered more extensively in the Telegraph:
The novelist Philip Hensher, writing in the Independent, frames the history of the birth of Bangladesh against the pain and fury of the hundreds of thousands of protesters of Shahbag Square, now demanding justice for the war criminals of Jamaat-e-Islam. Along the way he remarks on the genocide denial of Pakistan and the efforts a certain “historian” now based in Oxford. This is as comprehensive as it gets.
Since 5 February, Bangladesh has been transfixed by this ongoing, immense protest. Hundreds of thousands have occupied Shahbagh Square in protest at a verdict passed by the International Crimes Tribunal on war crimes committed during the genocide which preceded the founding of the country in 1971. One of those found guilty, Abdul Kalam Azad, was sentenced to death. Another, however, Abdul Quader Mollah, the assistant secretary general of a Muslim party which collaborated with the genocidaires, the Jamaat–e-Islami, was given life imprisonment. The protests which followed, and are still continuing, are led by intelligent and liberal people; they are, however, calling with great urgency for the death penalty to be passed on Mollah and other convicted war criminals.
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Tarek Fatah writes on facebook:
A Day before the Pakistan Army surrendered to the Bangladesh Mukti Bahini and the Indian Armed Forces, they and their Jamaat-e-Islami collaborators carried out a slaughter of the most prominent Bangladeshi academics and intellectuals. Today’s protests in Dhaka are the cries for justice by the sons and daughters of those who were killed in the name of Islam and Pakistan that day and the three million who died in the genocide carried out by the Pakistan Army and its jihadi militiamen in the previous nine months.
Here is the New York Times report from the war zone, dated December 19, 1971. Every Pakistani must read this and hang their head in shame.
NY Times Report, December 19 1971
Nick Cohen with an excellent piece on how the Shahbag demonstrations formed the space for a battle between secular Bangladeshis and Jamaat-e-Islami supporters in a park in Whitechapel. And the ongoing story of how the establishment and Britain’s liberal Left continues to enable fascist streams in political Islam, in particular, Jamaat-e-Islam.
Do I hear you say that Bangladesh is far away and the genocide was long ago?
Not so far away. Not so long ago. And the agonies of Bangladeshi liberals are nothing in comparison to the contradictions of their British counterparts.
The conflict between the Shahbag and Jamaat has already reachedLondon. On 9 February, local supporters of the uprising demonstrated in Altab Ali Park, a rare patch of green space off the Whitechapel Road in London’s East End. They were met by Jamaatis. “They attacked our men with stones,” one of the protest’s organisers told me. “There were old people and women and children there, but they still attacked us.”
Pervez Hoodbhoy is one of the most thoughtful of dissenting voices speaking in Pakistan today. His latest piece is a comment on the reasons behind Pakistan’s wilful disinterest of the events of the Shahbag Uprising.
On February 5, the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) found Mullah guilty in five out of the six charges against him. Known as Mirpurer Koshai (Butcher of Mirpur) because of his atrocities against citizens in the Mirpur area of Dhaka, he was charged with beheading a poet, raping an 11-year-old girl and murdering 344 people. The ICT sentenced Mullah, presently assistant secretary general of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, to life in prison. For the protesters in Shahbag Square, this isn’t enough — they want Mullah hanged. On the other side, the Jamaat-e-Islami protested violently and also took out demonstrations. But its efforts to influence global opinion foundered in spite of a well-funded effort.
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Saad Z Hossain writes a piece which perfectly encapsulates the public sentiments regarding the fascist culture of Jamaat encroaching into public life and what the Youth Uprising at Shahbag think about it:
What do you expect the government to do? Shoot at unarmed women and children? Slaughter college kids and shopkeepers? The demands of Shahbagh and the AL overlap to some extent. That is not surprising given the universal hatred for Razakars this country once felt in ‘71. The fact that politicians have since seen fit to worm these men back into power does not mean they were ever rehabilitated in the eyes of the common people. The fact that most people in the country hate Razakars, including the sitting government, should not really detract from the legitimacy of the cause.
The anti-Jamaat Mass Rally in Shahbag Square
We are now in day 5 of the ongoing anti-Jamaat rallies that have swept Bangladesh, with the largest one attracting more than 200,000 protesters in Dhaka.
Hundreds of thousands of people rallied Friday in Bangladesh’s capital to demand executions for people convicted of war crimes involving the nation’s independence war in 1971.
The protesters in Dhaka urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to review a verdict sentencing a senior leader of Jamaat-e-Islami to life in prison for killings and other crimes.
The protesters said the life term was not enough as Abdul Quader Mollah was found by a tribunal guilty of five charges, including playing a role in the killing of 381 unarmed civilians.
This is a cross post by Bina D’Costa first published in BDNews24
Ever since the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) began its work, opponents of the mechanism have emphasised that the first government of the state pardoned the alleged war criminals, that this was a project of political witch-hunt against Jamaat and BNP senior leaders and that there was no demand for justice from the majority of Bangladeshis who were more interested to move forward and have economic security rather than revisit the past. This write-up explores the political history until the ICT started its proceedings to respond to some of these claims.
We know how it began. That the Pakistani forces were perceived by the overwhelming majority of Bangladeshis who supported liberation as occupation forces; and that India’s armed intervention to end the conflict was welcomed. Pakistan also attracted global condemnation due to its brutal military crackdown in 1971, which resulted in mass atrocities and genocide. But what happened after the war was over?
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The following is the text of a lecture delivered by Richard Rogers on the 16th anniversary of the Liberation War Museum.
I feel extremely honoured to speak to you today as we celebrate the 16th anniversary of the Liberation War Museum. The Museum is a testament to a people’s desire to know and understand the difficult and painful episodes of its own history. Few communities around the globe can claim to have a history devoid of conflict or tragedy and dealing with the post-war situation has always been a challenge. Embarrassed or afraid of the truths that may rise to the surface, some call to forgive and forget the past, to ‘turn a page’, to leave the skeletons in the closet. Yet, time and again, this philosophy of repression has left too many questions unanswered, too much misunderstood, and has led history to repeat itself. In the former Yugoslavia, grievances hundreds of years old re-surfaced in the 1990s to result in one of the greatest tragedies in modern European history. In Rwanda, the echoes of colonial rule fuelled a divide that ended in a slaughter of almost a million people. Two decades after the First World War left Europe in ruins, Adolf Hitler managed to garner support for a second and even more devastating war. In 1971, Bangladesh was scarred by a terrible conflict that has not been put to rest. The way in which the people of Bangladesh approach this past will undoubtedly shape its future.
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The Impunity of Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin
This weekend, the Daily Mail launched an editorial on the extradition order for Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin.
In 1971, Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, whilst as a leader and organiser of the “Al Badr Death Squads”, abducted, tortured and murdered a number of Bangladeshi intellectuals and patriots, who were seeking self-determination and independence for Bangladesh. Following the defeat of Pakistan, Mueen-Uddin fled to Britain, where he has established himself as the pillar of the Bangladeshi British Muslim establishment, and the prime mover in Jamaat-e-Islam’s various front organisations in Britain.
Here are some excerpts from the Daily Mail report which we copy here, in case Mueen-Uddin’s lawyers, Carter Ruck, force the article to be removed to “protect the reputation” of their client.
One of Britain’s most important Muslim leaders – who has a senior role in the NHS – is to be charged with 18 murders by a war crimes tribunal in his native Bangladesh, investigators have told The Mail on Sunday.