Sunday, November 1, 2015

Blogger killings: Justifying the unjustifiable

A Facebook status published today of someone whom I do not know (and shall not name) sought to justify the killings yesterday of Dipan and the attack on Tutul, both publishers of Avijit Roy. The status has since been removed, so I paraphrase :
"I have no sympathy for those bloggers that have been killed. The Gonojagaron Mancho have brought it upon themselves by calling for the hanging of people, despite an unfair trial process. They deserve what they get."
This is so wrong, on many levels. There is simply no way that one can justify the 'blogger killings' on the basis that the people killed may have been part of a political demand that those convicted of crimes before the International Crimes Tribunal should be hung.

The men who killed the 'bloggers' - or their publisher - simply decided on their own that these people had committed some sort of crime for which they deserved to be killed. And then they killed them. That is entirely beyond the law and judicial system. There is only one word for it. And that is murder.

Yes, the Gonojagaron Mancho have called and are calling for hanging of those convicted of war crimes - but they do so only at the end of a judicial process in which charges are laid against the accused; where the charges for which the men are accused allow for the death penalty; after a trial has taken place in which witnesses are summoned; and a conviction is given by the court and an appeal process is permitted.

Whatever the inadequacies of the process - and in my view there are many - the Mancho's calling for the hanging of those who have committed these crimes (though in my view misplaced) is a million miles away from killing, or supporting the killing of bloggers, who have not committed any crime, have not been subject to any judicial process, and have not been charged for an offense that allows the death penalty.

It may be the case that calling for hanging following a perceived unfair process, has allowed Islamic extremists and others to think that they are then justified in murdering those who support the calling for the hanging (as indeed this Facebook status shows). But any attempt to link the two is totally unjustified.

The Facebook status - which I guess reflects the views of a considerable section of those who are critical of the International Crimes Tribunal - is very revealing.

It shows clearly that these people - pro-Jamaati, in the main, I imagine - are only critical of the International Crimes Tribunal because they are supporters of the accused who are to be subject to the death penalty - and not because they are interested in due process in any principled way.

These people are not concerned about fair trials, or rights of the accused as such - in fact they are  quite happy for the bloggers to be killed without any judicial process at all. If their patrons or parties came back to power in Bangladesh, I would put my bottom dollar that they would lose any interest in due process and would be happy to see the government prosecute unfairly those people who are their political enemies. And indeed put them to death.

Of course, this is not to say that the criticisms of the tribunal, held by these same supporters of the accused, are not correct. Only that they are deploying the arguments opportunistically, and they would be quite happy with the current ICT process if their political enemies were the accused.

1 comment:

  1. I think it is unfair to portray/associate mainstream Jamaat supporters and sympathisers with this horrible Facebook comment. Most people are as shocked at these senseless acts of terror as the next person. Please do not paint everyone with the same brush. That tendency is also opportunistic.