Vol. 5 Num 149 Thu. October 21, 2004  
Front Page

AL rejects judgement, calls hartal for Nov 3

The Awami League (AL) yesterday rejected the verdict of the Jail Killing Case and announced a half-day hartal across the country on November 3 in protest against what it called a 'government-directed judgement.'

The main opposition also decided at an emergency meeting of its Awami League Central Working Committee (ALCWC) to challenge the verdict, date of which was deferred twice, at the High Court.

"The meeting has rejected the verdict as justice was denied here due to the direct influence by the government. It is the worst example against the rule of law," AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil told reporters emerging from the meeting chaired by Leader of the Opposition and AL President Sheikh Hasina at the party's Dhanmolndi office.

"We believe it is not the judge's judgement, which badly missed reflection of the truth and people's expectation. This is a government directed verdict."

Jalil said the 6:00am-2:00pm hartal will also be enforced as a mark of protest against spiralling prices of essentials, slide in law and order, and all grenade attacks during the coalition rule.

The AL plans street agitation in tandem with the legal move against the judgement, he added. The AL will stage demonstrations across the country on October 24 and 28.

The ALCWC also condemned the Tuesday's attack on a meeting of Badruddoza Chowdhury and Dr Kamal Hossain in Rangpur, blaming it on the government-backed cadres. "The government has been obstructing people from exercising their democratic rights, and the attack was in the latest of the government's anti-democratic character," the meeting observed.

The meeting also expressed concern over the frequent killings in the Rab (Rapid Action Battalion) custody, alleging that the elite force is also being used to oppress political opponents.

"We are for punishment for the criminals but through proper trail. Every citizen has the right to justice," said Jalil, quoting meeting discussion.

"The meeting did not discuss the reform issues for the caretaker government system. We are working on it and will place concrete proposals."

Senior AL leaders Amir Hossain Amu, Tofael Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Obaidul Quader, Mukul Bose and Abdul Mannan were present at the briefing.

Sheikh Hasina leaves for the United States this morning to attend an international conference on "American Business Women and Entrepreneurs", scheduled to be held in New York on October 26 and 27.

Hasina will also address a gathering of expatriate Bangladeshis in New York.

She is expected to return on November 21.