Though he is a party standing committee member, opposition BNP has preferred to remain silent on the verdict of International Crimes Tribunal-1 against Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.
When contacted, four senior leaders declined to make any comment on the verdict suggesting to contact party spokesman Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
However, Fakhrul could not be reached over phone despite repeated attempts for comments.
Earlier in the day, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 found BNP leader Salahuddin 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.
Sought comments, BNP joint general secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said the lawyers have already given their reactions to the verdict, but no decision has yet been taken about the party’s reaction. The media will be informed if any decision is made in this regard, he added.
Meanwhile, pro-BNP lawyers claimed the trial procedure regarding the case against Salalhuddin Quader Chowdhury was inappropriate.
“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,” said BNP standing committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed at a press conference arranged by Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum, a platform of pro-BNP lawyers, at the Supreme Court Bar Association auditorium.
Moudud said, “We’ve long been saying that we want the trial of war criminals but the trial process has to follow the conventional law and maintain the international standard. The trial process in the case of Salauddin 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 will be acquitted and proved innocence by the Supreme Court.”
Party sources said BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia may sit with the party’ s senior leaders tonight to work out how the party should react to the verdict against its standing committee member.
Earlier, the opposition party also kept silent about verdicts against the leaders of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, its main political ally, by the tribunals.
The main opposition party has long been saying that it wants the trial of war criminals but the trial process has to be transparent and of international standard.
The party leaders, including its chairperson Khaleda Zia, on various occasions showed their no-confidence in the current tribunals saying those were set up with a political motive.
Additional police forces remained deployed in front of BNP office and its adjoining areas since morning over the verdict pronouncement.
Police also arrested a youth - Dulal- from in front of the BNP office around 2:30pm.
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul had come to the party office around 11am and left it after a while.