Only hours after state minister for law declared that Jamaat-e-Islami parliamentarian Hamidur Rahman Azad will no longer remain an MP due to his conviction for contempt of the International Crimes Tribunal, the government issued a statement clarifying that the remarks were “carelessly” made and incorrect.
“While talking to reporters in front of Awami League office on Bangabandhu Avenue, the state minister carelessly made some comments saying as the International Crimes Tribunal fined three Jamaat leaders and sentenced two of them…they’ll be unfit to contest the next election and those who are MPs will lose their parliament membership,” said a PID handout.
“As a matter of fact, his comments are not correct,” the handout said.
It said what the minister actually meant is: “They’ll have to file appeals with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court after surrendering before the tribunal if they want to have the punishment revoked.”
Earlier, the junior law minister told reporters that Jamaat leader Hamidur Rahman Azad cannot remain an MP as he was convicted by the International Crimes Tribunal.
“However, Azad can contest in the next parliamentary polls,” Quamrul told reporters after attend an anti-hartal procession in front of the ruling Awami League’s headquarters on Bangabandhu Avenue in the morning.
On Sunday, the ICT 2 sentenced three Jamaat leaders – MP Hamidur Rahman Azad, acting secretary general Rafiqul Islam Khan and Dhaka city unit's Assistant Secretary General Selim Uddin – for contempt of court. Rafiqul Islam and Azad were each sentenced to three–month imprisonment in absentia and fined Tk3,000. Failure to pay the fines would result in another two–month jail time.
Addressing the procession, Quamrul alleged that Jamaat chose to use hartals as their primary political tool fearing defeat in the next general election.
At the same programme, Environment Minister Hasan Mahamud said the convicted lawmaker cannot participate in the next general elections. He said Jamaat’s continued use of hartals was against the law.
“Jamaat is creating anarchic situation in a bid to cancel the trial of the war criminals.” he continued. Hasan also warned that such actions by Jamaat would lead them to face consequences similar to the Muslim League.
Later in the evening, Jamaat protested the remarks in a statement by Rafiqul Islam Khan, terming both ministers’ remarks as “illegal”, “un-constitutional”, “false” and “politically motivated.
Rafiqul Islam also said it was contrary to the constitution for Azad to lose his position as MP. He added that the government wants to keep Jamaat away from parliament as well as the upcoming national election. He urged the minister to refrain from making such “unconstitutional” and “misleading” remarks.