DHAKA – The death sentence against a leading Islamist leader in Bangladesh on war crimes charges is inviting a storm of condemnations from Muslim groups around the world, amid calls for a fair trial for the defendant.
“The Muslim Brotherhood denounces the unjust death sentence against one of the Islamist opposition leaders in Bangladesh,” Dr Mahmoud Ghozlan, spokesman of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group, said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.
The group also “condemns the deadly force used against citizens during activities protesting the evidently wrongful sentence.”
Delwar Hossain Sayedee, leader of Jamaat-e-Islami group, was sentenced to death last week on war crime charges during the 1971 independence war.
The 73-year-old leader was the third person to be convicted by the war crimes tribunal, whose verdicts have been met with outrage from supporters.
The sentence has triggered massive protests across Bangladesh and deadly clashes between supporters and the police.
At least 60 people have been killed in deadly violence since the death sentence was announced on Thursday.
The Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest Islamic party, enforced a nationwide two-day strike on Sunday in protest against the verdict and the killing of activists in police brutalities.
“We call upon all pro-peace, freedom and justice groups and movements to intervene to stop the blatant assault against the freedoms of citizens in Bangladesh in violation of all international charters and norms of international humanitarian law,” Ghozlan said.
“While we reject and condemn these unjust and unfair trials that violate all international norms and conventions, we call upon all States, and in particular Muslim countries, and international bodies and institutions to apply all pressure to put right these trials and lift the injustice befalling political detainees in Bangladesh and to apply pressure, politically and morally, to stop this human tragedy.”
The verdict has also prompted calls from Muslim groups for a fair trial for the Islamist leader.
“Ennahda expresses its full solidarity with Sheikh Delwar Hossain Sayedee and his fellow detainees held for false charges dating back to 1971 when they had stood against the division of Pakistan and the separation of Bangladesh,” the ruling Tunisian party said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.
It appealed to international organizations and human rights associations to raise their voices against police brutality against protestors.
“The party strongly condemns the policy of mass liquidation used by the authorities against the Jamaat Islami of Bangladesh and the political trials which seek to silence all dissident voices.”
The anger reached India, with the All India Muslim Personal Law Board accusing Bangladeshi Premier Sheikh Hasina of turning into a “dictator”.
“Sheikh Hasina has turned into a dictator and is using the war crimes tribunal to crush the opposition,” board member Raisuddin said.
“Those who have been convicted belong to the Jamaat-e-Islami which is in the opposition.”
Leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Syed Munawar Hasan called on the Pakistani government to take action on the sentence against the Bangladeshi leader.
He warned that the verdict could plunge Bangladesh into civil war.
Bangladesh is the world’s third-largest Muslim majority nation with a population of some 148 million.
The country has a secular legal system but village councils issue fatwas to resolve disputes in rural areas.
Bangladesh follows Shari`ah in resolving issues related to inheritance and marriage.