Bangladesh war crime convict Mueen sues British home secretary

Staff Correspondent | New Age  Jul 19,2020

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and Priti Patel

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, who is facing a death penalty in Bangladesh on charge of war crimes, is suing British home secretary Priti Patel for £60,000 in libel damages, reports the Daily Mail.

Mueen denied claims linking him to the killing of pro-independence activists during Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971 and alleged that he was defamed in a Home Office report last year.

The lawsuit said that the Challenging Hateful Extremism document by the Commission for Countering Extremism was shared on the Home Office’s Twitter account, which had almost one million followers.

It was retweeted by Priti and others – including BBC journalist Mishal Husain and the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Mueen insisted that he had not committed war crimes, was not a link between the perpetrators of the 1971 violence and the leadership of  Jamaat-e-Islami party’s UK branch, and had never been a senior leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami political group.

Seven years ago, Mueen-Uddin was convicted in his absence of crimes against humanity for leading a militia said to have killed 18 intellectuals while Bangladesh fought for its independence from Pakistan.

He was sentenced to hang by the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh.

But he said that the tribunal had been widely condemned and discredited, citing liberal democrat peer Lord Carlile, who described the tribunal as ‘not fit for purpose’ and the case against Mueen-Uddin as ‘nothing short of farcical’.

In 2012, The Mail on Sunday revealed that Mueen-Uddin, who at the time had a senior role with the NHS, was facing prosecution by the tribunal in Dhaka.

His writ, submitted to the High Court last month, also claimed that the Challenging Hateful Extremism report breached European data protection regulations and that his personal information was unlawfully used.

The lawsuit said that the Challenging Hateful Extremism document by the Commission for Countering Extremism was shared on the Home Office’s Twitter account and was retweeted by Priti Patel and others

The report, originally published in October last year, remained on the government’s website until March 20 after the commission initially dismissed Mueen-Uddin’s complaint. It later removed references to him and deleted his personal data.

Mueen-Uddin, who fled Bangladesh after the war and gained British citizenship, claimed the report’s publication caused him severe distress and embarrassment which was aggravated by the commission’s failure to contact him before publishing the allegations.

He said that he suffered further when the home secretary’s lawyers wrote to him in February, suggesting it was ‘fanciful’ that the report had seriously harmed his reputation.

A Home Office spokesman said, ‘This relates to claims made within a report published by the Independent Commission for Countering Extremism, adding, ‘However, given the Home Office is the sponsoring department for the commission, we are unable to comment further while legal proceedings are ongoing.’

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