31 October 2019, Thu, 12:43

Declares prayer program and peaceful protest demonstration nationwide

Appellate Division upholds death penalty of ATM Azharul Islam; Jamaat Ameer expresses concern

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami’s Ameer Maqbul Ahmad has issued the following statement on 31 October 2019 expressing deep concern as the four-member bench of the Appellate Division by majority view upheld the death sentence of Jamaat-e-Islami’s Assistant Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam.

“In order to destroy the leadership of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, the incumbent government had filed some false cases and subsequently produced some ruling party loyal personnel as witnesses to ensure the death penalty of the Jamaat leaders. They have executed top 5 leaders of the organization so far and Mr. ATM Azharul Islam has become the latest victim of this conspiracy.

Earlier, the government had filed false case against ATM Azharul Islam in a planned way. They also produced some party men as witnesses. Coming to the tribunal, one of those witnesses gave testimony saying that he had seen the incident from a distance of 7 kilometer and another claimed to witness the incident from 3-kilometer distance. Such a claim is entirely ridiculous.

Appearing before the tribunal, another prosecution witness claimed himself as the classmate of Mr. Azharul Islam. As per the submitted documents, Azharul Islam left Carmichael College, Rangpur in 1968 while this witness took his admission in the same college in 1970. So, his claim of being classmate of Azharul Islam has become void.

Such scrutiny of the case substantiates that the entire case is full of false information. As such, the countrymen expected that Mr. Azharul Islam would get justice from the apex court. But we, along with the fellow people are shocked and surprised as the appellate division upheld the death penalty of this popular leader. The people of the country rejected the verdict. The government has initiated a conspiracy to destroy the politics and political leaderships and this concocted case is another version of the same conspiracy.

For the sake of justice, ATM Azharul Islam will file a review petition against this verdict. He would be acquitted if his petition is granted.  

Mr. Azharul Islam is the victim of government’s severe repression and torture. Earlier, he was brutally tortured during police remand following his arrest in September, 2011. Despite his status as a national leader, he was produced before the court as handcuffed and shackled. The law enforcers also arrested his son and tortured him during those days. After getting bail from the High Court in all the false cases, Mr. Azhar was released in 2012. But new chapter of oppression began since then. The government engaged law enforcers to cordon his house. They also created an environment of panic and fear by setting up CCTV security system in the houses and its adjacent places. Such an example of harassing a public figure is unprecedented even in the political history of Bangladesh. Within days, the government arrested him once again. He has been kept behind the bar for almost 8 years now. Regrettably, the apex court deprived him from justice today. 3 of the 4 judges of the appellate division became agreed with the verdict, while another gave his dissenting view.   

We are urging all the national and international human rights watchdogs, democratic nations and peace-loving people around the world to raise voice against the government’s conspiracies to execute ATM Azharul Islam. Protesting the government’s conspiracies and also to press our demands for releasing Mr. Azharul Islam, we are declaring the following programs:

  1. Nationwide prayer program to be held on 1 November seeking immediate release of ATM Azharul Islam
  2. Protests and demonstrations to be held across the country on 2nd November   

I am calling upon the leaders and activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and expecting the assistances and supports of my fellow countrymen to make the declared program successful.