Law Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed on Sunday told parliament that Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Kashem Ali paid US$ 25 million to an American lobbyist firm to make the trial of the International Crimes Tribunal questionable and controversial.
“The government has the proof of that. The copy of the agreement with the lobbyist and money receipt is coming to us,” he told the House while responding to a supplementary question of Awami League lawmaker Advocate Dhirendra Chandra Debnath Shambhu.
The law minister said the US and EU ambassadors in Dhaka have been informed that the government wants to establish the rule of law and they have also been informed about the transparency of ICT.
He said the copy of the ICT verdict against Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu Razakar has been sent to the ambassadors of Germany, France and EU.
They expressed their satisfaction over the verdict and so there is no scope to raise any question about the standard of the ICT verdicts both at home and abroad despite efforts from a certain quarter to make the tribunal controversial, he said.
The Law Minister said Turkey and some other countries opposed death the penalty.
Quoting renowned philosopher Bertrand Russell, he said after the Second World War, Bertrand Russell also said that death penalty could be given in the case of mass killings.
Barrister Shafique said hundreds of intellectuals and freedom fighters were killed systematically without any reason during the War of Liberation in 1971. “There’s no problem to give death penalty to those involved in the killings.”
Replying to another question from Fazilatunnisa Bappy (Women Seat-47), the law minister said a total of 10 cases are under trial at the ICTs. “Seven of the cases are with ICT-1 while three others with ICT-2.”
The cases are against BNP leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, Jamaat-e-Islami leaders Ghulam Azam, Matiur Rahman Nizami, Mir Kashem Ali, Maulana Abdus Sobhan, ATM Azharul Islam, M Kamaruzzaman and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed, former BNP minister Abdul Alim and former Akhaura unit Awami League leader Mubarak Hossain.
The verdict in the Ghulam Azam case is awaiting formal pronouncement, the law minister said, describing the progress of other cases in the two tribunals.