Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami has called a countrywide daylong shutdown for Monday protesting a tribunal’s verdict punishing its three leaders for making derogatory remarks about the tribunal’s proceedings.
The party made the announcement through a release, issued by Jamaat’s acting chief Makbul Ahmed, on Sunday.
According to the release, Jamaat called the dawn-to-dusk hartal protesting mass arrest, and demanded to put a stop on mass torture, release of its already detained leaders and activists, withdrawal of “false” cases, and restoring caretaker government provision in the constitution.
However, the metropolises of Sylhet, Rajshahi, Khulna, and Barsial will remain out of hartla purview due to upcoming city corporation polls, scheduled to be held on June 15.
The announcement came a few hours later the International Crimes Tribunal-2 handed Hamidur Rahman Azad, lawmaker of Cox’s Bazar-2 (Moheshkhali-Kutubdia) constituency, and Rafiqul Islam Khan, acting secretary general of the party, were jailed for three months and fined Tk3,000 each. The duo were tried in absentia.
Selim Uddin, Jamaat assistant secretary general of Dhaka city unit, was fined Tk1,000.
In case of failure to pay the fines, they will have to serve two more weeks in jail.
Earlier on June 2, the tribunal of Justice Obaidul Hasan, Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Judge M Shahinur Islam set June 9 for giving its verdict in the contempt of court case against the three Jamaat leaders.
The tribunal fixed the date after watching video footages of public addresses by the trio where they termed the tribunal “controversial,” “dubious” and urged it “not to lose its head.”
On February 4, at a rally in Mohijheel, Selim and Hamidur warned the tribunal that the judges needed to think before giving any verdicts, “for they could lead the country into a civil war”.
At a press briefing the day after, Rafiqul spoke along the same lines criticising the tribunal’s procedure.
Later Selim Uddin, the only one arrested of the three, told the court that what he said were political remarks and being addressed to the government.
He said he had no intention to hurt the tribunal’s image. “Although, if the tribunal finds me guilty, I beg for mercy.”