US commends Dhaka’s fight against terror


Dhaka : US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has commended Bangladesh’s fight against terrorism and religious extremism during a telephone call to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

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Praise for the government came in during the 15-minute telephone talk the two leaders had, Hasina’s office announced after the conversation Sunday.

The US secretary lauded the Bangladesh government for the “steps taken to entrench democracy and the rule of law, attain food security and widen social safety nets”, The Daily Star reported.

While lending political and economic support to the Hasina government, Washington has closely monitored its fight against Islamist extremists.

The US has also supported Dhaka’s move to try “war criminals”, the Islamists who had killed unarmed civilians during the 1971 freedom movement.

US special envoy on war crimes Stephen Rapp was here last week when he commended the process, but suggested amendments to the relevant law to allow for scope for appeal and to meet with internationally acceptable standards.

However, Law Minister Shafique Ahmad disagreed with Rapp’s suggestions to amend Bangladesh’s 1973 International Crimes Tribunal Act’s definition of “war crimes”, saying it was similar to the one defined by the International Criminal Court.

The six people detained on charge of “war crimes” are all known Islamist hardliners. While Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury is a lawmaker of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the other five are the top brass of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest Islamist party.

The European Union’s Human Rights Task Force chair Andrew Barnard also urged Bangladesh to ensure the trials met international standards for fair judicial processes.

After meeting Rapp, Shafique Ahmad claimed “international support” for the impending trial.

The panel of three judges is expected to begin the trial process this month.