Monthly Archives: April 2019

Bangladesh’s war crimes tribunal has sentenced the former head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party to life imprisonment for masterminding atrocities during the 1971 war of independence against Pakistan.



It was the fifth such conviction since January.


Bangladesh has been hit in recent months by a wave of violent protests related to the war crime convictions.


The related unrest presents a challenge to the government, which is preparing for elections early next year.


Peggy Giakoumelos has the details.


“Professor Golam Azam, the then Amir (Chief) Est Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami, for his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity, he has been tried for five charges and all the five charges have been proved. He has been found guilty of all the five charges and the tribunal came to a conclusion that he deserves highest penalty of death. But considering his age and ailments in prison he has been awarded different terms of sentence totalling a sentence of 90 years or unto death in prison.”


That’s the additional Attorney General of Bangladesh , M.K. Rahman reading out the verdict in the case of Ghulam Azam the former head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party.


He was found guilty on charges of planning, conspiracy, incitement and complicity to commit genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1971 war for independence for Bangladesh from Pakistan.


Crowds gathered outside the court welcomed the verdict against the wheelchair-bound Mr Azam, who opposed the independence of Bangladesh,


One man who fought in the 1971 war had hoped for the death penalty.


“I am Bichu Jalal, as a freedom fighter I am happy with this verdict as he was the number one war criminal, but I would be much happier if he would get the death penalty. But considering his age the court has given him 90 years in prison.”


In 2010, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government launched an inquiry into atrocities committed during the war.


The tribunal has so far convicted three other Jamaat leaders to death and sentenced one to life.


Six more Jamaat leaders and two from the Bangladesh Nationalist Party are also on trial at the war crimes tribunal.


Unlike other war crime courts, the tribunal is not endorsed by the United Nations and has been criticised by human rights groups.


Jamaat-e-Islami has called a nationwide strike to protest the verdict, saying the war crimes trials are aimed at eliminating its leaders.


Ghulam Azam’s son, Salam al-Azami, has told the BBC the trial and the verdict were entirely politically motivated.


“If you can see the verdict, the judge clearly said that the prosecution has not been able to prove his direct involvement with any of the attrocities but here they come up with a ridiculous sentence of 90 years. This court has once again proved that it’s a political showtrial by a political party which has no legitimacy, no international recognition and we have been deprived of fair justice.”


When British colonial rule of India ended in 1947, the sub-continent was split into three parts – India, and East and West Pakistan.


Bangladesh was formerly East Pakistan.


It’s believed the independence war claimed about 3 million lives.


Some factions in Bangladesh opposed the break with Pakistan, including Jamaat and its leaders have denied involvement in abuses.


More than 100 people have been killed in protests over tribunal verdicts since January.

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Adelaide midfielder Scott Thompson tormented his former AFL club Melbourne with a best-afield display in the Crows’ 68-point victory on Saturday.


Thompson gathered a game-high 33 disposals as Adelaide continued Melbourne’s miserable season with a 18.12 (120) to 7.10 (52) win at AAMI Stadium.

Thompson, who left the Demons after the 2004 season to join Adelaide, was a standout, Lewis Johnston kicked six goals, Sam Jacobs ruled the rucks and first-year Crows Mitch Grigg and Brad Crouch were influential.

Melbourne forwards Jeremy Howe, Jack Watts and Colin Sylvia each kicked two goals and Nathan Jones and Jack Grimes battled gamely against the tide.

The Demons had the better of a lacklustre opening term, kicking 2.3 to 1.2, but lost David Rodan, who was substituted at quarter-time with a left ankle injury.

Melbourne then went missing in a costly second-term slumber when the Crows piled on five goals in 10 minutes.

Adelaide’s goal spree went unanswered by the visitors, who didn’t score at all until Howe kicked his second goal more than 26 minutes into the quarter.

The Crows led 7.4 to 4.5 at halftime and were propelled by their dual club champion Thompson, who collected 22 disposals to the main break, and ruckman Jacobs, who logged 23 hit-outs for the half.

Any hope of a Melbourne rally was terminated by two atrocious discipline lapses which book-ended the third term.

Four minutes into the quarter, defender Lynden Dunn inexplicably punched Andy Otten in the chest some 100 metres off the ball – the blow contained little force but was spotted by the umpire and the Crow goaled from 20 metres out.

And the last act of the quarter was another woeful Melbourne moment: Tom McDonald was outmarked by Adelaide forward Johnston but then knocked the ball from the Crow player’s hands.

McDonald was penalised 50m but didn’t even bother to stand the mark, allowing Johnston to stroll to the goalline to score.

Johnston potted four of his six majors in the last quarter of a game which was Adelaide’s last at AAMI Stadium – they move to a redeveloped Adelaide Oval next season.

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On the verge of breaking Andrew Johns’ Newcastle appearance record, hooker Danny Buderus has revealed the moment he feared he would never play again.


The former NSW Origin and Test captain will make his 250th appearance against Cronulla at Remondis Stadium on Saturday night – surpassing rugby league Immortal Johns’ mark in the red and blue.

But having undergone two bouts of back surgery at the start of the year, Buderus doubted his potential to ever lace on the boots again, let alone reach 250 games.

The games record was an obvious incentive during his rehabilitation, as was a determination to go out on his own terms.

“I didn’t think I’d play again at times,” Buderus said.

“The back takes a lot of confidence out of you.

“At the start of this year when they asked me to play on again I (thought) that would be a great achievement to play 250.

“Joey was 249, to play 250 let alone break the record, is a good achievement.

“That was a goal of mine, but two serious back ops at the start of the year, I thought I’d never get here.”

Buderus also admitted he’d never considered the possibility of coming back to the Knights when he left the club after the 2008 season to take up what was going to be a two year swansong with Super League club Leeds.

Five years later he is back where it all began, on the brink of becoming the most-capped Knight.

Barring another setback, he will get to exit the game on his terms, with Newcastle still in the running to feature in the finals.

“If I didn’t finish the way I wanted to, I probably would have thought I was a bit of a failure,” Buderus said.

“I wanted to come back and finish on my own terms and I’ve got five games to do that.

“I’m glad I’ve strung a few together the last four or five weeks, it’s not finished yet.

“To come back and say goodbye to the fans again in a few more weeks would be great.”

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Port Adelaide are confident their ex-Essendon forward Angus Monfries will play out the AFL season despite his involvement in the Bombers’ drugs investigation.


But the Power have denied being told Monfries will be cleared for any finals campaign, regardless of the outcome of the Essendon drugs scandal.

Monfries played 150 games for Essendon but was traded to Port Adelaide at the end of last season.

Port coach Ken Hinkley said the supplements scandal at Essendon had been harder for Monfries because he had left the club.

“I’m not certainly aware that he has or he hasn’t been cleared,” Hinkley told reporters on Thursday.

“I think we expect, as everyone expects, that the players are the ones that we’re first and foremost worried about and we want to make sure that they’re okay.

“And for Gus to be at a different club, it’s even a little bit more difficult for him to deal with I suppose because he’s not quite as sure about what is going on.

“We’re hopeful that everything will work out okay.”

Monfries was interviewed by Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), which has delivered their interim report to the AFL and, in turn, the Bombers.

“It’s something that I’m not totally over and Gus has been able to deal with it all the way through. If it hasn’t affected him and the way he has gone about it (football),” Hinkley said.

“I suppose he is like the rest of us: he’s just waiting to see what the outcome of the report is going to be. And then, what will happen from there, we’ll have to deal with.”

Asked if he was confident Monfries would play the rest of the season, Hinkley replied: “Yeah, we are.”

“When I say confident, I’m only reading what I’m reading and seeing what I’m seeing and I would assume that he would be okay,” he said.

“But until you see the report, see what is actually in that, I’m guessing.”

The AFL Commission will discuss the report at a meeting on Monday.

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The West Australian government has offered the family of Australia’s first Aboriginal cabinet minister Ernie Bridge a state funeral or memorial service.



Mr Bridge, who died last weekend, and has been remembered as a politician who was respected by both sides of the West Australian Parliament.


He served 21 years in politics as a Labor and then an Independent member and became Australia’s first Aboriginal Minister of any Australian Parliament in 1986.


Aged 76, he died from asbestos-related diseases after launching legal action against those he believed were responsible.


Perth correspondent Ryan Emery takes a look back at his life.


(Sound of country and western singer):


Ernie Bridge performing a country and western song.


But it wasn’t on stage – it was in State Parliament.


Jim McGinty is a former state Labor Party leader and colleague of Mr Bridge.


“I think it’s the only time it’s happened in the history of the Westminister System because he was a great Country and Western singer.”


Ernie Bridge was one for firsts.


He became Western Australia’s first Aboriginal Member of Parliament in 1980 and six years later became the nation’s first Aboriginal cabinet minister.


He was the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Water Resources and the North West.


Jim McGinty says the Kimberley man, born in Halls Creek, was respected by both sides of Parliament.


“Ernie’s life has made him a role model for Indigenous Australians, but it’s also been important for non-Indigenous Australians to have someone as successful as Ernie. Shire president at a very young age, first Indigenous cabinet minister, but it wasn’t just positions that he held, he dreamt big and he thought big and has left a significant legacy of achievements behind him in the various portfolios he held.”


His son Noel Bridge remembers a father who was always there for his children.


“Look just a wonderful, loving and caring father to me and always someone prepared to listen and take interest in what I had to say and what I was doing as I grew up. Dad was always someone I could reliably speak to whatever the circumstances or situation. I was very privileged to have a very strong bond and relationship with dad in that way and that’s something I’ll always cherish and something I’ll miss going into the future.”


Mr Bridge was a big ideas man.


One of his biggest was to pipe water from the mighty Fitzroy River in the Kimberley to the south of the state.


The idea, which never got off the ground, was what he was singing about in State Parliament.


Federal Minister for Resources Gary Gray says Mr Bridge inspired many and began the culture of strong Indigenous leadership in the Kimberley region.


“Firstly the idea that through hard work you could get through the institutional barriers and become a representative of the Kimberley in the Parliament of Western Australia. And while he was there, he didn’t just do that job well, he became a minister and he also made his mark on important and enduring legacy things for Western Australia such as the better use of the land and water in the north and the Kimberley for horticulture and other purposes. Ernie was a great man.”


Jim McGinty says even now, Mr Bridge can continue to be inspirational.


“He was the sort of person who had a strong set of values and convictions, but he went about it in the nicest possible way. I think modern politicians could learn a lesson from Ernie.”


Ernie Bridge was a great advocate for Aboriginal people.


He pushed for Aboriginal aides in the police force and was successful – paving the way for Aboriginal police officers.


He headed a Royal Commission into the unlawful arrests of Aboriginal people at Skull Creek, which began to change the way West Australian police interacted with Aboriginal people.


After he left politics, he championed the health and education of Aboriginal people.


Last year, he was named a Member of the Order of Australia for his parliamentary work and advocacy for Aboriginal people.


Western Australia’s Opposition leader, Mark McGowan, visited Mr Bridge in hospital during the recent state election campaign.


“He was upbeat. He was in good spirits. He was determined to do his best to defeat the illness that afflicted him, but unfortunately he is now passed away. It was great to meet him on that final occasion. Great to have a last conversation with him. I know he’ll be missed by many West Australians.”


Mr Bridge was determined to fight his asbestos-related diseases and also those he believed were responsible.


He had launched legal action about two weeks before his death against companies owned by Gina Rineheart and Angela Bennett.


He’d also included the state government, the Shire of Ashburton and the CSR and Midalco companies in his legal challenge.


Mr Bridge believed his exposure to asbestos dust and fibres at the town of Wittenoom led to his terminal illness.


He visited the town as the Minister for the North West, overseeing the withdrawal of government services from the town in the 1980s.


Noel Bridge says the family is yet to decide if it’ll continue the legal action, which they are entitled to do by law.


“We were aware that there is some sort of press running around at the moment in regards to that matter, but we’re certainly not contributing to that press at this point in time. We’re focused pretty much on what’s before us and that is to give dad the right send off and show him the respect and allow the celebration of the contribution to this state to occur in the best way we can possibly do.”


(Ends with Ernie Bridge singing)

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