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Dhaka Tribune

Government demands apology from Amnesty International

Update : 10 Nov 2015, 08:39 PM

The Foreign Ministry has sent a note to Amnesty International demanding a formal apology for its controversial statement regarding pro-independence forces.

“An official from Bangladesh Mission in London handed over the note to Amnesty [International] last Friday,” State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam told the Dhaka Tribune.

Earlier this month, the state minister told a press conference that the government would send a strong reply to Amnesty International about its press statement issued October 27.

In its statement, Amnesty International suggested that the “pro-independence forces” in Bangladesh should also be implicated for committing “serious crimes.”

The Foreign Ministry note read: “This egregious comment is just a brazen insult to the valued freedom fighters and martyrs of Bangladesh’s Liberation War and betrays Amnesty International’s shallow reading of the history and significance of Bangladesh’s Liberation War and its aftermath.”

“This is exactly the kind of misleading propaganda run by those who opposed Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, continue to work against Bangladesh’s sovereignty and independence, and remain on the side of those convicted of crimes against humanity and genocide,” the note added.

The press statement by Amnesty International reiterated the human rights watchdog’s  position against the death penalty, and in the process, questioned the trials and appeals in the cases against two individuals convicted of committing crimes against humanity and genocide during Bangladesh’s Liberation War.

The Foreign Ministry note read that Amnesty International had joined a selected few, especially the defendants and their political sympathisers, to project the war crime convicts as “opposition leaders.” “This is an easy and cheap ploy to give the trials a political flavour,” it read.

About Amnesty’s allegation about miscarriage of justice in the trial, the note reads: “Without going into any specificity, the repetition of the same allegations without substance has only exposed the organisation’s entrenched bias in favour of the convicts.” 

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