British lawyer Geoffrey Robertson wants trial of some freedom fighters for alleged war crimes perpetrated against surrendered Pakistani troops and Urdu-speaking civilians locally called ‘Biharis’.
“There are some severe allegations of war crimes against the Bengali freedom fighters ,” Robertson told a London press conference on Wednesday, report agencies.
“These war crimes were committed against the 3 million Urdu-speaking population and others who supported the unity of Pakistan. So there should be trial for these crimes as well.”
Robertson was critical of excluding these freedom fighters from the ongoing war crimes trials that targets collaborators of the Pakistan army, especially leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami.
“Letting them (freedom fighters) go scot free is a travesty of justice because they had also committed serious crimes during the 1971 war.”
Robertson, like other foreign lawyers of the Jamaat-e-Islami, came down on the ‘lack of global standards’ in the ongoing war crimes trials in Bangladesh.
He said it was unfair to amend the war crimes law following the pressure of the Shahbagh movement after Abdul Quader Molla’s life sentence.
That amendment allowed prosecution the right to appeal against the life sentence verdict.
Robertson denied being engaged by any political party in Bangladesh, though his press conference came around the time of the ICT verdict on Jamaat leader Abdus Subhan.
Jamaat’s foreign lawyer Toby Cadman had raised many questions over the ongoing war crimes trials in the past just before verdicts against its leaders in the war crimes tribunals.
Meanwhile, Dhaka’s International Crimes Tribunal in on Wednesday awarded Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdus Subhan capital punishment for committing crimes in Pabna district during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.
In 1971, Abdus Subhan, was acting chief of the Jamaat’s Pabna district unit and vice-president of Pabna district Peace Committee.
The tribunal in its observation said Subhan and his accomplices had got hold of ordinary people from Ishwardi Central Jame Mosque and ‘brutally’ hacked them to death with swords. The court said death penalty was the proper punishment for him.
The tribunal ordered him to be hanged unto death for murders of several hundred people including 20 who had taken shelter at Ishwardi Central Jame Mosque (Charge 1), six at Sahapur village (Charge 4) and around 300 in Sujanagar Police Station (Charge 6).
The court also awarded him jail unto death for murdering five people at Juktitola village under Pakshi union (Charge 2), and kidnap and murders in Debottor village under Pabna Sadar.
He was given five-year jail term for kidnap, detention and torture of several people at Arankhola in Ishwardi (Charge 3). Under the law, the convict can appeal to the Supreme Court against the tribunal verdict in 30 days.
Source: Weekly Holiday