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Govt to collect proceedings of seminar in the British Parliament

War-crime-trial issue lands in House of Lords

Anwarul Karim<br>Senior Correspondent |
Update: 2010-06-25 00:14:19

DHAKA: The government has given special instruction for collecting verbatim the proceedings of a much-talked-about seminar at the House of Lords of the British Parliament on Bangladesh’s War Crime Act.

“Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) directed us Thursday to collect the information and speakers’ observations verbatim as well as collect the list of all the participants,” a Foreign Office source, wishing anonymity, told Friday.

Referring to the media reports published in Dhaka, the source also said there is an allegation that a pro-Jamaat organization, in association with Justice Concern and Bangladesh Forum, Europe, arranged a seminar titled ‘The International War Crime (Tribunals) Act 1973 of Bangladesh: Compatibility with International Standards’ on June 23 at Committee room-3 at the upper chamber of the British Parliament.

The seminar was arranged and invitation made by Lord Avebury, Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, now that there have been ripples at home and abroad over Bangladesh Government’s move to stage the belated trial of the suspects who hade committed “crimes against humanity” during the country’s 1971 liberation war.

The source said, “Lord Avebury is a popular activist and known face to Bangladesh. The government is surprised as to how he arranged such kind of seminar in association with a group accused of having links with Jamaat.”

He added: “As per the PMO direction, we asked the Bangladesh High Commission in London to collect verbatim the voices of the speakers, if possible.”

A high official of the Foreign Office also talked to M Saidur Rahman, Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK, on Thursday over telephone regarding the red-hot issue, the source claimed.

“M Saidur Rahman was invited to the seminar as Guest of Honour and a speaker, but he declined to attend it,” he further said.  

BDST: 1855 HRS. June 25, 2010

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