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Bangladesh Government must halt death sentence of Abdul Quader Mollah – or face international consequences – says British politician
Monday, 09 December 2013
Senior British politician and eminent war crimes experts call for halt of execution of opposition leader in Bangladesh, saying execution will be rushed through in secret tomorrow (Tuesday). They Call for Bangladesh PM and Government Ministers to be given UK and EU visa restrictions PM attempting to use execution to cause state of emergency and halt elections. Former prosecutor of Slobodan Milosevic, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC Chair of Bar Human Rights Committee, former legal adviser to UN International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda join call for immediate halting of execution.

Information received by senior British politicians and international legal experts has revealed the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina has ordered the death sentence of prominent political opposition leader Abdul Quader Mollah on Tuesday 10th December, in contravention of Bangladeshi law and all international norms.

According to information originally obtained by both Mollah’s defence team and legal observers on the ground, Prime Minister Hasina has given orders that the death sentence be carried out in secret on Tuesday, a full sixteen days before it is legal to do so under Bangladeshi law.
Lord Carlile QC, Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanty, said: ‘The execution of Abdul Quader Mollah must be halted immediately. We call on the Prime Minister to refrain from interfering directly to speed up the execution, which she is abusing for entirely political purposes.
‘The Bangladesh Jail Code allows a 21 day review. No execution can be carried out within 21 days of the receipt of certified judgment. This decision to execute Mollah willfully disregards this fundamental right of review.
‘At the same time we call on the British Government and the European Union – both of which have policies to campaign against the death sentence wherever it is used – to put maximum pressure on the Government of Bangladesh, including immediate visa restrictions for the Prime Minister and Government Ministers involved in this decision’.
Abdul Quader Mollah has been sentenced by the International Crimes Tribunal – a local court – under circumstances that have included the abduction of opposition witnesses, the use of forced and fake testimony, co-ordination of sentences before trials that have been completed by the Government, the refusal of international monitoring and of international defence counsel representatives to enter the country.

Organisations including Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists and respected international media organizations such as The Economist have all condemned these practices and the legitimacy of the Tribunal. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has separately condemned the Tribunal saying it does not meet the standards expected for the delivery of fair justice.

Lord Carlile commented: ‘This is an incendiary act aimed at dividing Bangladesh and enflaming the opposition, which has already been forced onto the streets in protest against Government policies. ‘The only way Sheikh Hasina can delay an election is to force a state of emergency, and it seems she is trying to provoke the opposition, and with it the death of many more opposition supporters on the streets of Bangladesh to achieve it. It is clear the government of Bangladesh is willing to use these cynical and irresponsible tactics to derail the democratic process. It is a shameful piece of politicking which will result in untold misery for Bangladeshis in the coming months.’
Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, former prosecutor of Slobodan Milosevic, commented: ‘This trial has not adhered to even the most basic international standards. It is concerning that this execution is taking place after such a deeply flawed judicial process. That the justified concerns of international legal experts are being so willfully ignored suggests these trials have lost all legitimacy.’

Kirstey Brimelow QC, Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee added: ‘There is now a clear consensus amongst the international legal community that this tribunal is not credible. It is a real concern that there has not been enough pressure from Bangladesh’s international partners to halt these executions, especially from those nations who have been campaigning vociferously for the abolition of the death penalty.’

Other war crimes experts who have also expressed their concer today include Karim Khan QC, former legal adviser to UN International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.