Claiming that the trial procedure was inappropriate, BNP standing committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed on Tuesday hoped that his party colleague Salauddin Quader Chowdhury who was given death penalty by a tribunal will be acquitted by the apex court.
“We’re disheartened over the Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury’s verdict. International standard was not maintained, and conventional laws were not followed in the trial procedure,” he said.
Though his party maintains silence over the verdict, Moudud came up with the reaction to the verdict at a press conference arranged by Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum, a platform of the pro-BNP lawyers, at the Supreme Court Bar Association auditorium.
Earlier in the day, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 found BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury guilty of crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971 and condemned him to death.
The three-member tribunal, headed by Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, pronounced the verdict at 1:15pm. This is the first verdict against any BNP leader on war crimes charges.
Moudud said, “We’ have long been saying that we want the trial of the war criminals but the trial process has to follow the conventional law and maintain international standard. The trial process regarding the case of Salahuddin Quader was not appropriate,” he said.
He said there will be an appeal against the verdict. “The verdict of the tribunal is not the highest decision. “We believe he’ll be acquitted and proved innocence from the Supreme Court.”
The former law minister also claimed that SQ Chowdhury was denied justice.
He termed unprecedented the reported publication of the judgment before its pronouncement.
Moudud said a copy of the verdict was available on the internet on Monday, and it came from a Law Ministry computer.
He hoped that the tribunal and the government will make their position clear in this regard. “Doubts will arise in public mind about the trial process if the government fails to do that.”
Another BNP standing committee member Barrister Rafiqul Islam Miah said: “BNP believes in democracy and the rule of law. We’re in favour of the trial of war criminals but the trial process must be transparent and of international standard. International standard and criminal rules were not properly followed in the case against Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury.”
Bangladesh Bar Council vice chairman Khandakar Mahbub Hossain warned that they will take action against those involved in the trial process of the tribunal if BNP returns to power.
“Those who were involved in the farcical trial will be tried on Bangladesh’s soil. It’s a trial of political vengeance, it’s an imaginary and dramatic trial,” he alleged.