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Dhaka Tribune

Victims’ families cry out for execution of verdict

Update : 03 Nov 2013, 07:47 PM

This was the first time that many witnesses and victims’ families had come to the court room to hear the verdict with their own ears. When the war crimes tribunal was pronouncing its verdict, the eyes of the family members of martyred intellectuals were full of tears, but not a single drop fell on the ground.

After one hour and 45 minutes, when tribunal 2 Chairman Justice Obaidul Hassan pronounced the word “death sentence,” all cried out. They had been holding an iceberg of pain since 1971, and after 42 years it finally broke apart.

Prof Anirban Mostafa, son of martyred journalist ANM Golam Mostafa and teacher of Khulna University, glanced over to the empty dock for just a second after the pronouncement of the verdict, and took a deep breath.

He said: “I have no memory of my father as I was only nine months old when Mueen and Ashraf abducted and killed him. I lost my father, but got Bangladesh. I expect that Bangladesh will be a country of non-communal sprit with this verdict.”

As Prof Anirban was taking to the Dhaka Tribune, his own son Bishonko Broto asked him: “What is going on?” His father answered: “We got justice at last, and those who killed your grandfather have been ordered to be hanged.”

Prof Anirban came to the tribunal with his whole family to hear and witness this historical moment. He said: “I cannot remember anything about my father but I tried to let my son know everything about his grandfather. Now he is the next owner of history.”

All of the family members present in the courtroom held grievances from the last 42 years and many broke down in tears and hugged each other. Like Anirban, families of every victim expressed happiness at the verdict and demanded that Mueen and Ashraf be brought back soon so that their sentences can be executed.

According to the investigation agency probe report, Mueen has been living in London for decades while Ashraf resides in New York.

Martyred intellectual Prof Gias Uddin’s brother, sister and niece were also present. Farida Banu, sister of the martyr, had filed a criminal case with Ramna police in 1997 against Mueen and Ashraf for the killing of her brother and seven others on DU campus on December 13, 1971.

She told to Dhaka tribune: “We have got justice. Now the next step is to bring them back to the country so the sentence can be executed immediately.” Otherwise, they would have to live with the same pain they had been undergoing for the last 42 years, she said.

Masuda Banu, the niece of Prof Gias and also an eyewitness of his abduction, said the countries which had always taught us democracy, “now have to prove them [democratic] by giving these war criminals back. Now they have to save the right of our democracy.”

Hamida Banu, another member of the family, said: “We are of high concern what may happen if the ruling Awami League government does not come to power again.”

Shyamoli Nasrin Choudhury, wife of martyred physician Dr Alim Chowdhury, said she had felt good after hearing the judgement. She observed that the verdict had acknowledged the sacrifice of the greatest sons of the soil and their family members.

“I was waiting to hear this [sentence] since the day of his abduction, and now another waiting starts – execution of the verdict,” she added.

Prof Syed Anwar Hossain, another witness of the case and teacher at Dhaka University, said: “The present addresses of the al-Badr killers are mentioned in the judgement. They should be brought back home through Interpol.”

He said he was happy with the verdict, but he would be happier if Jamaat was banned as a political party in Bangladesh.

Expressing happiness, prosecutor Tureen Afroz said the government should start international lobbying to bring the convicts back. She said the whereabouts of both the convicts were known and they had given interviews to the media about the trial. “So with the copy of the verdict, we can start the process of bringing them back for execution.”  

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