Amnesty trying to protect war criminals in Bangladesh: Hasina

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Amnesty International is trying to protect war criminals in Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said.

Accusing the international rights body of taking money for defending the war criminals, the prime minister called the act “despicable”, bdnews24 reported on Monday.

The Amnesty, in a media statement on October 27 before the final verdict on war criminals Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, said “serious crimes by freedom fighters” during the Liberation War have gone unpunished.

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“We’ve strongly condemned it (statement) and will continue to do so,” Hasina said.

“They received something big for it,” Hasina said, implying that Amnesty was bribed into making the statement.

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The prime minister also urged for an early conclusion of the war crimes trials.

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War crimes suspects were put on trial after the formation of the first war crimes tribunal in 2010. A second one was constituted two years later to expedite the trials.

But the government merged the two tribunals after many cases were resolved and the number of pending cases decreased.

Most of the war criminals are from Jamaat-e-Islami, which opposed Bangladesh’s independence.

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The Supreme Court handed death sentences to wartime Al-Badr chief Jamaat leader Mujahid on June 16 and Chittagong’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Chowdhury on July 29.

The full verdicts were published on September 30.

The convicts have sought a final review of the verdict before execution. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the pleas on November 17.

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