Bangladesh opposition leader sentenced to death for war crimes

[JURIST] Prosecutors for the International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [Facebook page] on Wednesday sentenced the secretary-general of the Jamaat-e-Islami Party (JI) [party website; GlobalSecurity backgrounder] to death for the kidnapping and killing of people during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [Bangladesh News backgrounder]. Ali Ahsan Mojaheed was found guilty of five charges [AP report], including those of kidnapping and killing a journalist, a music director and a number of other people during the war. Mojaheed was indicted by the ICTB [JURIST report] on seven counts of crimes against humanity in June 2012, to which he pleaded not guilty. The tribunal said that the prosecution failed to prove two of the charges against Mojaheed, while five charges were proven beyond doubt. Defense attorneys have stated that they plan to appeal the verdict against Mojaheed.

Earlier this week, Ghulam Azam, chief of JI in Bangladesh until 2000, was also found guilty by the ICTB [JURIST report] of five charges of planning, conspiracy, incitement, complicity and murder during the war. The ICTB began its first trial [JURIST report] in November 2011 for crimes against humanity committed during the Bangladesh Liberation War. The defendant in that trial was Delwar Hossain Sayedee, a former member of Parliament in the National Assembly of Bangladesh [official website, in Bengali] and one of the former leaders of JI. Earlier that month, ICTB prosecutors filed an application [JURIST report] for formal charges against Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a former leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party [party website], who was also accused of crimes against humanity during the Liberation War. In May 2011, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] sent a letter to the Bangladesh government praising its efforts through the ICTB to prosecute war crimes, but urging the government to ensure that the trials are carried out in accordance with international human rights expectations [JURIST report]. The ICTB was first established in 2010 [JURIST report] to handle war crime charges stemming from the 1971 war.

 

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