Lib Dem election contender Maajid Nawaz defends death penalty tweets about Labour opponent’s aunt

Maajid Nawaz

Maajid Nawaz - Credit: Archant

The Liberal Democrat contender for Hampstead and Kilburn in the 2015 general election has defended critical comments made on Twitter about Bangladesh’s prime minister – who happens to be his Labour opponent’s aunt.

Cllr Tulip Siddiq.

Cllr Tulip Siddiq. - Credit: submitted

Last Thursday, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Maajid Nawaz addressed a number of posts on Twitter to the Ham&High, condemning the Bangladesh government’s execution of an Islamic opposition leader who was convicted of war crimes.

Mr Nawaz, a reformed Islamist and founder of counter-extremism think tank Quilliam, criticised Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina and her Awami League party for the killing, on the grounds of his beliefs in the “universality of human rights”.

Ms Hasina is the aunt of Labour parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, Cllr Tulip Siddiq.

But Mr Nawaz told the Ham&High the tweets were not meant as an attack on Cllr Siddiq, insisting “defending human rights is too great a cause to be reduced to political point scoring”.

He added: “The use of the death sentence in a former Commonwealth country must be condemned for the cruel punishment that it is, in and of itself. Not for any other reason.”

Cllr Siddiq said: “For many years it has been Britain’s policy to campaign for the eradication of the death penalty. I support my party’s ambition to achieve this goal.

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“As Labour’s candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, I am solely focused on local people and the issues they care about. I am committed to representing them and am not playing [and] do not intend to play any part in Bangladeshi politics.”