The ruling Awami League on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over the verdict of death sentence for Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Molla while the main opposition BNP once again skipped making any comment on the verdict.
Awami League leaders expressed hope that the verdict would be executed within the tenure of the incumbent government.
The BNP, which has so far refrained from giving official reactions to the six verdicts in the war crimes trials, said it would announce the party’s position on the verdict after going through its full version.
However, BNP Standing Committee members Moudud Ahmed and Rafiqul Islam Miah and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s Adviser Khandaker Mahbub Hossain were present at a press briefing organised by Quader Molla’s lawyer Abdur Razzak.
Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami is a key ally of the BNP in the 18-party opposition alliance.
BNP lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdury and former minister in Ziaur Rahman’s cabinet Abdul Alim are also facing trial at the International Crimes Tribunal for crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday sentenced Quader Molla to death for committing crimes against humanity.
“There is a provision for implementing a verdict within 45 days. We hope that the verdict will be implemented within the tenure of the government,” said Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahabub-Ul-Alam Hanif while talking to reporters at his office at Karwan Bazar.
Sajeeb Wazed Joy, son of Prime Minister and Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina, said with Tuesday’s verdict the nation had taken another step closer to freeing itself of criminals.
“Quader Mollah has been awarded the death penalty. This has only been possible because of our Awami League Government,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
When contacted, senior BNP leaders refused to make any comment on the verdict. “I have no personal opinion on the verdict,” Moudud Ahmed told reporters after attending the Jamaat press briefing on Supreme Court premises.
“The party stance will be announced later,” he said.
Although the senior leaders did not make any comment, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia at a rally in Rangpur on Sunday alleged that the government was carrying out “inhuman torture and repression” on the Jamaat top brass and demanded release of all opposition leaders.
“The way the government is oppressing Jamaat leaders, especially a youth [Islami Chhatra] Shibir president, is unprecedented. We have not heard anything like the torture being carried out on the Shibir president,” Khaleda said.
For the first time in over a year, the opposition chief categorically demanded release of Shibir chief Delowar Hossain and leaders of Jamaat.
At a rally in Chittagong in 2010, Khaleda had demanded release of the top Jamaat leaders who had been behind bars on charge of war crimes, which triggered a lot of criticism from different pro-Liberation War organisations. Since then, the BNP chief has remained silent on the issue.
The silence of the BNP, however, irked Jamaat.