Bangladesh: Sayedee appeals against death

Last Updated: Thu, Mar 28, 2013 12:48 hrs

Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee challenged the death penalty handed out to him by a war crimes tribunal for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 and filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Bangladesh on Thursday.

The government is likely to file an appeal with the Supreme Court on Thursday seeking death sentence in eight crimes against humanity charges that were proven before the war crimes tribunal against the 73-year-old Jamaat leader.

Speaking to, Sayedee's lawyer Fariduddin Khan said: "We have challenged the verdict on 135 grounds and sought acquittal on all the eight charges for which he was given death penalty."

The war crimes tribunal last month awarded death penalty to Sayedee for only two charges though eight charges were proven against the leader.

Additional Attorney General MK Rahman told The Daily Star: "A total of eight charges out of 20 brought against Sayedee have been proved before the tribunal."

Sayedee was sentenced to death by the tribunal for several crimes like mass killings, torture, rape and looting and forcible religious conversion during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 when the country attained freedom from Pakistan after a bloody struggle that left countless dead and thousands of women outraged.

Pertinently, Jamaat-e-Islami is an alliance partner of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

Bangladesh witnessed violence in recent times in reaction to the death penalty awarded to Sayedee.

Born Feb 1, 1940, Sayedee has been criticized for speeches against the western world in the aftermath of the US-UK combined attack on Afganistan in 2001 to unseat the Taliban, for which he has sympathy.

He was included in the No Fly List maintained by United States government´s Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) in 2004.

He was also criticized for his comments on journalists who published reports about his activities in 1971, which were seen as threatening press freedom.

Bangladesh, erstwhile East Pakistan, got independence following a nine-month war against Pakistan with India´s help in December 1971 during which an estimated 3 million people were killed and thousands of women were raped.

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