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Germany’s International Criminal Defence Lawyers demand immediate halt to the execution of Maulana Nizami and Mir Quasem Ali
Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The German lawyer’s association International Criminal Defence Lawyers Germany e.V. (ICDL) expresses its deepest concerns about two recent death sentences issued by the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh. This is based on the objections that have been articulated by the defendant’s advocates as well as by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) regarding the failure to adhere to international fair trial standards in the course of these legal proceedings.

 

Motiur Rahman Nizami, one of the defendants and leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami opposition party in Bangladesh, sought a last review of his death sentence by virtue of a petition that was brought to the court in Bangladesh the 10th of April 2016. The petition was connected with a mere one-week deferral of the execution.

 

The ICDL demands that this review is undertaken in a diligent and fair manner and that ultimately, the death sentence will be repealed by the court.

 

Nizami was sentenced for the crimes allegedly committed by him during the independence war in 1971.

 

The Highest Court in Bangladesh also affirmed the death sentence against Mir Quasem Ali, another leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami opposition party, at the 8th of March 2016. Mir Quasem Ali was sentenced to death by the same court in November 2014. The Crimes Tribunal handed down 17 judgements since its foundation in 2010 whilst most of these decisions conceded a death sentence. The death sentence has also already been executed in four cases of these cases disregarding international protests in this matter.

 

This Tribunal has been accused of the violation of international fair trial standards as enacted in Art. 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by the United Nations that are as such legally binding in Bangladesh. Various UN committees as well as international NGOs have repeatedly criticised these shortcomings which were disclosed by their criminal defence lawyers.

 

The ICDL expresses its agreement with the representations by the OHCHR stating that the imposition and the execution of the death penalty violates the fundamental rights of the defendant Motiur Rahman Nizami and the right to life and human dignity of Mir Quasem Ali.

 

(ICDL - Germany - Statement translated into English)