War crimes convicts lose voting right

War crimes convicts lose voting right

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Parliament has passed a bill to bar anyone convicted under the Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order 1972 and the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 to vote in Bangladesh.
Those convicted under the two Acts would not be able to vote again and be dropped from the current voter list.

Law Minister Shafique Ahmed tabled the Voter List (Second Amendment) Bill, 2013 on Sunday in Parliament. It was passed in voice vote.

The minister on Sept 16 had placed the bill for passage. It was then sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Parliament Affairs for further evaluation.

The Cabinet had given the bill final approval on Sept 2.

The 15th Amendment to the Constitution had barred collaborators from being voters.

As per the Constitution, any person could be enlisted as voters for the parliamentary elections if not convicted under Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order.

Section 66 of the Constitution also disqualifies any convict under the same law from participating in any elections.

The aim and causes to amend the Act said being enlisted as a voter and casting votes in elections including parliamentary polls is a constitutional and legal right of any citizen. But loyalty to Bangladesh is necessary to earn these rights and exercise them.

Citizens who do not believe in Bangladesh’s independence, actively opposed the Liberation War [in 1971], committed genocide and crimes against humanity and are convicted of these crimes should not be in the voter list and a voter, it added.

Trial of suspected war criminals began after the Awami League-led Grand Alliance took office in early 2009.

Seven accused have so far been convicted by the war crimes tribunals of Bangladesh constituted to set the record straight. Six of them have been sentenced to death and another one jailed for life term.

The convicts include Jamaat-e-Islami former chief Ghulam Azam, top leaders Delwar Hossain Sayedee, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed, Abdul Quader Molla, Md Kamaruzzaman, former leader Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu Razakar and senior BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.

Of them, Quader Molla was awarded life in prison by the tribunal, but the Appellate Division gave him death sentence following an appeal later.-bdnews24.com

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