Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Death of Mostafa Howlader - Tribunal witnesses must not be targeted

Please note that post has been amended from the original one, see *s below

Mostafa Howlader, a witness against Delwar Hossain Sayedee, has died from his injuries in Dhaka Central Medical Hospital.

This is absolutely chilling. Any violence against witnesses of the tribunal has to stop. Whilst, the exact identity of those responsible for the incident that resulted in the killing are not yet known - according to a report in the Dhaka Tribune, Mostafa Howlawder identified them as activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami/BNP.
'Mostafa’s son Hafizur Rahman, 20, called another witness against Sayedee Ruhul Amin Nobin immediately after the attack. Hafiz told Nobin that he had recognised two of the three attackers who chopped his father with a machete. They were activists of BNP and Jamaat, he said.'
It should be noted that the Jammat argue that this interpretation is not consistent with earlier reports of the event. banglanews24 reported at 9.32 am on 8th December 2013 that 'Nasir Uddin, the Officer In Charge (OC) of Indurkani Police officer informed Bangla News that during midnight burglars entered into his house at which Mostofa and his wife get up and at that time both were seriously injured by sharp object of the burglar.' Daily Shamakal reported the same news in its onine version on the same date at 13.58 pm *(new para added)

Whilst this incident may be a burglary unconnected with the ICT, I think it is a reasonable assumption to make that it is connected.*(new para added)

Assuming for the moment - and I accept that the evidence remains unclear*(new phrase added) - that the claim in the Dhaka Tribune is correct, it is somewhat extraordinary that whilst the Jamaat-e-Islami lawyers are putting such great (and in my view legitimate) efforts to prevent the Bangladesh state killing Abdul Quader Molla through a judicial process, at the same time the party's supporters are apparently responsible for the death of a trial witness. Any moral high ground that the Jamaat lawyers feel that they are on, is just cut from beneath them.

I have written critically about the Delwar Hossain Sayedee trial and have raised many issues about the credibility of the whole trial process - but whatever concerns one may have about the integrity of the trial nothing justifies the harming of the witnesses.

We are at a dangerous moment in Bangladesh. There is significant concern that if the Awami League loses hold of the state apparatus, there will be significant blood letting against those perceived to have been responsible or involved in the government's so called 'misrule' over the last five years. Those targeted could, it seems, include the international tribunal witnesses. This is a terrible possibility and must not be allowed to happen

Many trials witnesses must be  scared of what could happen to them. The Jamaat and the BNP should make clear public statements that no tribunal witness should be targeted by their supporters.

To see the evidence that Mostafa Howlader gave, go to this page, and look at the 8th witness

1 comment:

  1. I've been following this live post since yesterday and checking it every now and then to understand what exactly going on. It is well documented here. Very much appreciated.