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Back Activities Alerts Action Alert: Bangladesh - Demand a fair trial for Professor Ghulam Azam

Action Alert: Bangladesh - Demand a fair trial for Professor Ghulam Azam

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Write to your local MPs and the UN demanding that they act to ensure that Professor Ghulam Azam is tried in an independent international court.

Contents

1. Action Required

2. Summary

3. Background

4. Sample Letters

5. Addresses for Sample Letters

 

1. Action Required 

Write letters and emails to the Foreign Minister of your country and the UN urging them to do whatever they can to ensure a fair trial for Professor Ghulam Azam in an independent international court, and an end to misuse of the International Crimes Tribunal. Please see sample letters below.


2. Summary

Bangladeshi pro-democracy campaigner and former chief of Bangladesh’s Jamaat-e-Islami party, Professor Ghulam Azam, was indicted on 13 May 2012 by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal for alleged war crimes during the 1971 war with West Pakistan.

The court has been condemned for colluding with the government, and being incapable of conducting a fair and impartial trial. His trial is seen by many as an attempt to delegitimise political opposition to the ruling Awami League party, in order to ensure the latter’s victory at the next election.


3. Background

On 13 May 2012, Bangladeshi pro-democracy campaigner and former chief of Bangladesh’s Jamaat-e-Islami party, Professor Ghulam Azam, was indicted by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal for alleged war crimes during the 1971 war with West Pakistan. Professor Ghulam Azam is being accused of having collaborated with West Pakistan during the war, and of being responsible for acts of torture, murder, conspiracy and provocation in Bangladesh in 1971; he may be executed if found guilty.

The ruling Awami League government of Bangladesh has sought to prosecute opposition figures and pro-democracy activists under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973, on charges of alleged genocide, war crimes, and collaboration with Pakistan. Human Rights organisations have detailed the brutal human rights violations carried out by the Awami League government including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detentions, and suppression of free speech. This has led to widespread concern that the International Crimes Act 1973 is being used as a political tool to weaken the opposition rather than to ensure justice

The government of Bangladesh must not use the horrors of the war of independence as a pretext to persecute political opposition figures.


4. Sample Letters

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Sample letters are given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you send and the reply you received, to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters.

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a) High Commissioner of Bangladesh to the United Kingdom, Dr Mohammad Sayeedur Rahman Khan (Use the address below or email: hc@bhclondon.org.uk)


His Excellency Dr Mohammad Sayeedur Rahman Khan
28 Queens Gate
London
SW7 5JA
UNITED KINGDOM

 [Date]

Dear High Commissioner,

Re: Concerns over the indictment and trial of Professor Ghulam Azam

I am writing to convey my dismay over the treatment of Bangladeshi pro-democracy campaigner and former chief of Bangladesh’s Jamaat-e-Islami party, Professor Ghulam Azam, by the Bangladeshi authorities, and demand that he is granted a fair trial.

The ruling Awami League government of Bangladesh has sought to prosecute opposition figures and pro-democracy activists including 90-year-old Professor Azam, under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973, on charges of alleged genocide, war crimes, and collaboration with Pakistan. I am deeply concerned that the International Crimes Act 1973 is being used as a political tool to weaken the opposition rather than to ensure justice.

The government of Bangladesh cannot use the horrors of the war of independence as a pretext to persecute political opposition figures. The solitary isolation of Professor Ghulam Azam appears to be the cynical use of the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh to further the interests of the ruling Awami League, at the expense of human rights and justice.

I ask that you convey my concerns and requests for justice to the government. I look forward to your swift reply.

Believe me, Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your name]


b) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay

Her Excellency Dr. Navanethem Pillay
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
SWITZERLAND

[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Dear High Commissioner,

Re: The unjust indictment of Professor Ghulam Azam.

I am writing to convey my dismay over the treatment of Bangladeshi pro-democracy campaigner and former chief of Bangladesh’s Jamaat-e-Islami party, Professor Ghulam Azam, by the Bangladeshi authorities, and demand that he is granted a fair trial.

The ruling Awami League government of Bangladesh has sought to prosecute opposition figures and pro-democracy activists including 90-year-old Professor Azam, under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973, on charges of alleged genocide, war crimes, and collaboration with Pakistan. Human Rights organisations have detailed the brutal human rights violations carried out by the Awami League government including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detentions, and suppression of free speech.  I am deeply concerned that the International Crimes Act 1973 is being used as a political tool to weaken the opposition rather than to ensure justice

The government of Bangladesh appears to be using the horrors of the war of independence as a pretext to persecute political opposition figures. The solitary isolation of Professor Ghulam Azam represents the cynical use of the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh to further the interests of the ruling Awami League, at the expense of human rights and justice.

As UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, I believe that you have a duty to address these human rights concerns to the Bangladeshi authorities and thereby ensure Professor Ghulam Azam is no longer subjected to this mockery of justice.


I look forward to you r reply.

Believe me, Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your name]

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5. Addresses for sample letters

a) High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Australia

Australian campaigners can write to:

Lieutenant General Masud Uddin Chowdhury
57 Culgoa Circuit
O'Malley, ACT-2606
Canberra
AUSTRALIA

b) High Commissioner for Bangladesh to Canada

Canadian campaigners can write to:

Mr A. M. Yakub Ali
Constitution Square Centre
340 Albert Street, Suite # 1250
Ottawa

Ontario
K1R 7Y6
CANADA

c) High Commissioner for Bangladesh to Malaysia

Malaysian campaigners can write to:

Mr. A. K. M. Atiqur Rahman
High Commissioner for Bangladesh
Bangladesh High Commission
Block 1 Lorong Damai 7
Jalan Damai

55000 Kuala Lumpur
MALAYSIA

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Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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