The Daily Sangram reported that an attempt was made to attack Professor Ghulam Azam’s home on Thursday night. A translation (retrieved from another source) is below:
An armed gang of militants staged an attack on the house of the former leader of Jammat-e-Islam, Professor Ghulam Azam. Last Thursday, in the dead of the night, the house was attacked by a gang carrying weapons and walkie-talkies, the family reports.
Professor Ghulam Azam’s private secretary Nazmul Haq stated that last Thursday night, at Professor Ghulam Azams Kazi Office Lane residence, 80-100 armed men in 7-8 micro-buses attacked the house. They left their vehicles in the alley leading to Kazi Office Lane, and forced the guard to open the main gate at the entrance to the Lane. 25-30 of the attackers then entered the lane, and asked the owner of the shop opposite to Prof. Ghulam Azam’s house to point out the house, and then forced him to close down the shop.
They positioned themselves in front of the house, and tried to enter the building. The watchman asked them their identity, and for what reason they wanted to enter – they did not answer, but instead were abusive and repeatedly asked for the gate to be opened. They reached through the grille and wrestled with the guard, and attempted to break down the grille. Hearing this commotion , guards and watchmen from neighbouring residences began to come over. When the gang realised that the guard would not at any cost open the main gate, they eventually left. The family members of Prof. Ghulam Azam felt very helpless and frightened, he said. Witnesses report that the gang were armed with sticks, weapons and held walkie-talkies.
Professor Ghulam Azam gave an interview to the Daily Sangram the night before he was arrested. Please see an excerpt below, which demonstrates his courage in the face of such hardship:
“My dear brothers, please remember that the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself had to endure a lot of suffering. This is nothing compared to what he faced during the siege at Shib-e Abu Talib. As we have decided to follow in his path, we have to face difficulties. Please don’t worry about us – think about the country, about the people of the country, about the Islamic way of life. If Allah decides to open the door of martyrdom for us, then it is our good fortune, so please don’t worry about us – just keep praying.
And continue your movement in a lawful manner, to save the country, to save its people, to keep its sovereignty. Do not break the law of the country. Do not do anything that will bring sufferings to its people. We are not amongst those who call their supporters to take ten lives in revenge of one life [referring to Sheikh Hasina]. Those who follow the path of the Prophet (peace be upon him) cannot speak so inhumanly. I urge you all to systematically strive hard for the country, for its people, to stop Tipaimukh, to stop transit, to keep the country’s sovereignty. ”
Professor Ghulam Azam was arrested today on alleged charges of war crimes. These accusations have a clearly political motivation, to discredit Jamaat-e-Islami and prevent their role in Bangladeshi politics. Despite Ghulam Azam’s opposition to the creation of Bangladesh, he has never advocated or participated in ‘crimes against humanity’.
It is deeply regrettable that the judges have refused bail in view of his age and ill health. The lack of impartiality of the judges has already been noted by international human rights lawyers (see previous post). The Bangladeshi government must ensure that a fair trial is conducted to international standards if this trial is to have any credibility. A trial of this nature is already severely flawed by the lack of credible contemporaneous evidence, intimidation of defence lawyers and witnesses, and statements by government officials seeming to anticipate the outcome of the trial before it has even concluded.
Professor Ghulam Azam will appear in court tomorrow before the International Crimes Tribunal on allegations of war crimes. An application for bail has been made in the event of his arrest being ordered by the court.
Ghulam Azam’s own statements in recent weeks have reiterated his consistent and robust denial of all accusations of war crimes. He has stated that he has nothing to fear from a trial, and this would certainly be the case in a trial of international standards. We are gravely concerned that the political motivation of this trial will lead to weak or fabricated evidence being accepted by the court and that existing detainees have been denied basic constitutional rights normally granted to all Bangladeshi citizens. This concern has also been expressed by noted international human rights lawyers, including Toby Cadman and Steven Kay, as well as Human Rights Watch and Stephen Rapp, US War Crimes Ambassador.