Video: Hunger strike at Bangladeshi protest in Whitechapel over 'war crimes'
PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 December 2014
Activists held a hunger strike to remember those killed in Bangladesh’s independence war and call for the punishment of a man they consider one of the perpetrators.
Bangladeshi protesters wearing blindfolds in Altab Ali Park, off Whitechapel Road, on Saturday acted out the murder of intellectuals in the 1971 war and handed out leaflets to passers by.
The campaign to have Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, a former vice chairman of the East London Mosque, who lives in London, extradited to Bangladesh to face charges of war crimes has rumbled on for over a year.
Mueen Uddin, 66, was found guilty in November 2013 by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal of the kidnapping and murder of teachers, journalists and intellectuals in the war, after being tried in his absence by the court.
However, he has denied all charges and his lawyer, Toby Cadman, has called the court a “show trial” slammed by human rights groups.
Ajanta Deb Roy, one of the protest organisers, said: “We wanted to remember the intellectuals who were murdered and symbolise the way they were taken from their homes, blindfolded and tortured, sometimes in front of their mothers.”
“We want people to know what Mueen Uddin did,” she added.
“People don’t know about the history. They only know him as a Muslim religious leader.
“So it’s about unmasking him.”
The East London Mosque has confirmed Mueen Uddin was involved with the mosque from 1978 as honourary secretary, and was until recently vice chairman, but has not been a trustee since 2009.
The UK government will not extradite Mueen Uddin to Bangladesh because he could face the death penalty there.
He has also been vice chair of the London Muslim Centre in Whitechapel, helped set up the Muslim Council of Britain, been director of Muslim Spiritual Care for the NHS, and met Prince Charles as deputy director of the Islamic Foundation in Leicestershire in 2003.