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Bangladesh: Court Ban on right-wing party Jamaat-e-Islami.

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The Times of India reports,

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s biggest right-wing partyJamaat-e-Islami was today banned from contesting future polls by a court here which cancelled its registration in a landmark ruling, leaving the once-most powerful fundamentalist party with an uncertain future.

The bench of justices M Moazzam Husain, M Enayetur Rahim, and Quazi Reza-Ul Hoquepassed the judgement accepting a writ petition that challenged the legality of Jamaat-e-Islami’s registration as a political party.

In the petition, they said Jamaat-e-Islami was a religion-based political party and it did not believe in independence and sovereignty of Bangladesh.

The verdict comes at a time when the demand for outlawing the party, blamed for war crimes during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan, was mounting.

Several top Jamaat leaders, including its 91-year-old supremo Ghulam Azam, were recently sentenced either to death or to long jail terms for masterminding atrocities during the war.

Al-Jazeera adds,

Shahdeen Malik, a lawyer for the Bangladeshi election commission, which oversees preparations for elections due next January, said the ruling meant Jamaat could not field candidates.

“As a party Jamaat’s registration with the election commission is declared illegal, with the consequence that they cannot contest the election as a political party,” Shahdeen Malik told AFP.

“The party can still carry on with other political activities. If it amends its charter, to bring it in conformity with the constitution and reapplies for registration, it can be re-registered.”

Reactions in Bangladesh - Dhaka Tribune.

Government’s reaction

Junior Law minister Quamrul Islam said the High Court verdict would work as the first step of the legal procedure towards banning the party from politics.

While talking to journalists at his office after the verdict, the state minister for law said this verdict is not enough to ban the political activities of Jamaat.

“The government will work on that,” he added.

Jamaat-e-Islami’s reaction

Syed Abdullah Md Taher, working committee member of Jamaat-e-Islami, called the the verdict “unexpected” and “unacceptable” and said the government took this step to satisfy its ill motives.

“But eventually it would be a boomerang for the government, as the people of the country wil never accept it.”

Election Commission’s reaction

In an immediate reaction, Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmed said the commission would decide its next course of action after getting the full text of the verdict.

“At this time, I don’t think it would be appropriate to make a comment on the matter. We can’t say anything about this now.”

He said EC would hold a meeting to review the verdict in order to make a decision on the issue.

When asked whether Jamaat could participate in the election, the CEC said if their registration was deemed illegal, they would be ineligible to take part in the election as a party, but they could run an independent candidate.

BNP’s reaction

MK Anwar, standing committee member of the main opposition BNP, told the Dhaka Tribune that the path to democracy would be clogged if the Election Commission moves to annul the existing registration of Jamaat after the verdict.

“Rather the people of the country could make a better judgment whether any party will operate or not through the ballot,” he said.

Expressing concern, Goyesshar Chandra Roy, another Standing Committee member of the BNP, said the verdict could increase the ongoing political turmoil in the country.

Petitioner’s reaction

The petitioner, Syed Rezaul Hoque, a central leader of Tarikat Federation, in an immediate reaction told the Dhaka Tribune that Jamaat-e-Islami has no right to do politics ethically and ideologically after the verdict.

He said: “The party is an enemy of Islam and during the 1971 Liberation War it committed many serious crimes using the name of Islam.”

Wikipedia information on Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami

Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir

The student wing of this organisation is the Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir, a major organisation at many colleges including the University of Chittagong, the University of DhakaRajshahi University and Islamic University. It is also influential in the madrassa system. It is a member of the International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth. The ICS has been involved in violent clashes with other student groups,is extremely militant and has been linked to numerous acts of violence. The group has also been linked to a number of larger terrorist organizations both in Bangladesh, and internationally.

International Crimes Tribunal

By November 2011, the International Crimes Tribunal had charged two BNP leaders and five Jamaat leaders with war crimes committed during the Bangladesh liberation war.

The summary of verdict in the conviction of Abdul Quader Molla recognised the role played by Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing (‘Islami Chatra Sangha’) as collaborators with thePakistan Army in 1971. The party was found guilty of forming paramilitary forces, such as Razakar and Al-Badr. It was said to have taken part in the systematic genocide of the Bangladeshi people and other violent activities.

As a result of the trials, the activists of the 2013 Shahbag Protest have demanded that the government ban Jamaat from Bangladeshi politics.In response, the government started drafting a bill to ban Jamaat-e-Islami from Bangladeshi politics.

The East London Mosque and the Islamic Forum of Europe have connections with the  Jamaat organisers in Britain.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 1, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Tunisia, Islamist Government ‘Destablised’.

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Al Jazeera reports,

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has rejected calls for his resignation after three days of violent protests against economic hardship left more than 300 people injured.

Jebali, the leader of the Islamist Ennahdha party, accused secular liberals and religious Salafis of harming the country’s economy and international image through their conflict with one another.

Ennahdha often presents itself as a “middle-way compromise” party, but Jebali on Thursday accused opposition parties of sowing disorder and called for the violence in the northern city of Siliana to end.

“The violence that has occurred requires us to take a stand – the unions, the parties and organisations – against, let us say, the mutual violence,” Jebali said.But demonstrators said they were not behind the violence, as police officers were caught on camera, beating protesters among the crowd of 15,000 people.

Staff at a nearby hospital said a dozen people hit with pellets from shotguns may lose their sight.

More reports:

En Tunisie, les émeutes de Siliana déstabilisent le gouvernement d’Ennahda

The riots in Siliana are destabilising the Ennahad (Islamist) government says LE MONDE

Le président tunisien, Moncef Marzouki, est intervenu à la télévision, vendredi soir 30 novembre, après quatre jours de violentes émeutes à Siliana – une ville située dans une région agricole à 120 kilomètres au sud-ouest de Tunis, où l’armée s’est déployée en fin de journée – pour réclamer la formation d’un gouvernement restreint de “compétences”.

After four days of violent rioting in Siliana The Tunisian President Moncef Marzouk appeared on television Friday evening. This town, in an agricultural region 120 kilomomtres South-West from Tunis has seen the army intervene in the evening. He called for a new government with the task of dealing with the unrest.

“Nous n’avons pas une seule Siliana, a poursuivi le chef de l’Etat. J’ai peur que cela se reproduise dans plusieurs régions, et que cela menace l’avenir de la révolution.”

He continued, “We do not have just one Siliana. I am concerned this situation spreads to other regions, threatening the future of the revolution’.

In Tunis the independent trade union federation, the UGTT, organised on Friday  a demonstration (about 400 -500 people) in support of the protesters in Siliana (Here).

Increasingly the UGGT is  in conflict with the Islamist-led government.

Time reports,

The Tunisian army withdrew from Siliana on Saturday only hours after entering the flashpoint town following days of intense clashes with protesters, a police official said.

“The army had offered to come and provide security for a few days, but the interior ministry refused,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

His remarks were echoed by two other sources in the police force.

Protesters took to the streets of Siliana this week demanding Governor Ahmed Ezzine Majjoubi’s resignation, financial aid, the end of police attacks, and that security reinforcements be ordered out.

The four days of violence left more than 300 people wounded, as political instability mounts two years after Tunisia’s Arab Spring uprising.

The military entered Siliana on Friday, to the cheers of crowds, as the main trade union announced that the army would take over security from police who have been accused of abuse and violence.

New demonstrations were planned for later Saturday in the impoverished town, some 120 kilometres (75 miles) southwest of Tunis.

Bikaymasr reports,

TUNIS: Amnesty International is deeply concerned by reports that as many as 300 protesters and  bystanders have been injured by the Tunisian police’s use of excessive force in Siliana, a city south west of Tunis, during demonstrations on 27, 28 and 29 November. Protesters have been calling for the departure of the governor of Siliana, economic development of the town and the release of 13 detainees arrested during protests in April 2011 and who remain in pre-trial detention. Further protests were reported on 29 November as a general strike continued.

Shotguns and other firearms appear to have been used, as well as teargas, by law enforcement against protesters on 27, 28 and 29 November.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm