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Thousands of People Gathering at Shahbagh Square in Dhaka Demanding Death Sentence of War Criminal
For latest update on this story, please see this iReport: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-922072
Several thousands of people have gathered in one of the city's busiest intersections in protest of the verdict of a war criminal in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
On Tuesday, the International Tribunal-2 in Dhaka sentenced Jamaat-e-Islami Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Mollah to lifetime imprisonment for crimes against humanity in the Liberation War 1971. Soon after the sentence was delivered, outrage spread on the social networking medias and community blogging platforms.
Members of Bloggers and Online Activists Networks first gathered at Shahbagh square at 5pm on Tuesday in protest of the verdict demanding death penalty for every war criminal, including Quader Mollah. As the news of this gathering spread across the Bangladeshi web, many more people -- mostly youths from different universities -- started joining the unusual protest in Shabagh.
Sit-in protests are nothing new in Dhaka. But this is getting really huge as more and more people are gathering in Shahbagh square with candles, banners and drawings demanding nothing but death sentence for Quader Mollah.
However, Jamaat-e-Islami had called countrywide dawn-to-dusk Hartal (general strike) on Tuesday and Wednesday. Amid many incidents and clashes with the police and Jamaat-e-Islaami members, the protesters kept their place at Shahbagh square round the clock. At the time of this reporting, it has been over 24 hours and the protesters are in strict position saying that they are not moving until Quader Mollah is sentenced to death.
The protesters announced this afternoon that they are going to hold a grand rally on Friday.
A local news agency, bdnews24.com, reported that the government will file an appeal to the verdict within the 30-day deadline. Additional Attorney General MK Rahman told bdnews24.com that they had decided “on principle” to move the Appellate Division against the verdict.
The lifetime imprisonment sentence has been rejected in a widespread format as not just general people but also government officials are talking against this. Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu told bdnews24, "I am a freedom fighter. Quader Mollah was sentenced to death in the mock rials in the Jahanara Imam-led Gonoadalot (Court of the People) only 500 yards from here."
Although it is virtually impossible to give an estimated number of how many people have gathered at Shabagh square, local TV channels have reported that the amount can cross millions if this continues through Friday.
Quotes sourced from bdnews24.com, image credit to Prothom-Alo and bdnews24.com