Jamaat’s countrywide hartal observed

The Jamaat-e-Islami has called for another dawn-to-dusk nationwide strike on Thursday , apparently to time it with a possible ‘war crimes’ verdict on party leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee.

Mohammed Ibrahim of Jamaat’s Publicity Department said in a press release on Wednesday that the party’s Acting Secretary General Rafiqul Islam Khan has given the call for the strike, calling for immediate release of Delwar Hossain Sayedee and stopping ‘oppression on religious leaders’.

The press release alleged the government has ‘killed’ 17 people through police action when they were protesting against the ‘defamation of the Prophet (pbuh)’.

“The Government has detained internationally recognised figure Delwar Hossain Sayedee for a long 32 months with false cases of crimes against humanity,” it said.

Earlier in the day, ICT-1 fixed Thursday for delivering its third verdict, this time on Jamat leader Sayedee for ‘crimes against humanity’ during the 1971 Liberation War.

In its first verdict on Jan 21, the ICT-2 had awarded death penalty to absconding former Jamaat full member Abul Kalam Azad, also known as Bachchu Razakar.

In the second verdict on Feb 5, the second war crimes tribunal awarded life sentence to Jamaat-e-Islami Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Molla – a judgement that sparked off massive protests across the country.

The Jamaat-e-Islami had threatened a ‘civil war’ if party leaders convicted of ‘war crimes’ were executed. They also called for a strike on the day the verdict was delivered on Molla.

Amidst the ongoing protests at Shahbagh, the government amended the 1973 ICT act to allow both defence and prosecution equal opportunity for appeal against verdicts of the tribunals. Now the prosecution says it will appeal against Molla’s life sentence and seek harsher punishment.

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