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New Bangladesh government committed to restoring 1972 constitution: justice minister

[JURIST] Bangladeshi Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shafique Ahmed [official website] on Thursday declared his government's desire to restore Bangladesh's 1972 constitution [text, PDF]. The move signals an intent to return [Hindu News report] to the four principles of nationalism, democracy, secularism, and socialism that Bangladesh endorsed after its independence from Pakistan in 1971. Ahmed told the Daily Star that the government would work to try those who committed war crimes [text] during the 1971 war.

Bangladesh elected Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in December, ending two years of military rule. Prior to the elections, interim Bangladeshi president Iajuddin Ahmed [official profile] signed [JURIST report] the Emergency Powers (Repeal) Ordinance of 2008, lifting a two-year state of emergency to allow for political campaigning. The state of emergency, declared in January 2007 [JURIST report], had suspended democratic rights throughout the country. The state of emergency had been briefly lifted in November, but was reinstated [JURIST report] following violent protests after Jamaat-e-Islami [party website] party leaders were arrested on corruption charges. In June, Hasina was indicted on charges [JURIST reports] that she received approximately $440,000 in illegal kickbacks on a power-plant deal during her earlier term as prime minister between 1996 and 2001.

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