Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bangladeshi Islamic Leader Sentenced to Death for War Crimes


NEW DELHI – Another Bangladeshi Islamic leader has been sentenced to death by the country’s International Crimes Tribunal for crimes against humanity during the country’s 1971 war of independence against Pakistan, local news media said on Wednesday.

Abdus Subhan, 79, a former chief of the Jamaat-e-Islaami party in the Pabna district, was found guilty of mass murder, genocide and kidnapping while leading pro-Pakistan militias during the conflict, according to the Bangladeshi daily Bdnews24.

The court passed the death sentence on Subhan after convicting him on three of the nine charges against him and also gave him three prison sentences, including two life terms and another five years of incarceration.

Subhan was found guilty of having murdered almost 400 people in a single day in 1971 while he was vice-president of the peace committee in his district, the crime that earned him the death penalty, according to Bangladesh’s Daily Star newspaper.

He is the ninth person from his party and the 16th defendant overall to be sentenced for war crimes.

War crime trials are a part of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s electoral promises and in 2010 she set up a court to bring to judgment those who collaborated with Pakistan during the war of independence.

Islamic parties and the opposition have claimed that the trials are a part of the government’s political strategy to eliminate its rivals.

Sentences against the then-senior officials for war crimes have unleashed protests from Islamic groups and led to hundreds of deaths at the hands of security forces.

During the war in which Bangladesh gained its independence from Pakistan, three million people died and hundreds and thousands of women were raped, according to unofficial estimates.

Those figures have been called into question recently by certain researchers who estimate that between 300,000 and 500,000 people were killed in the conflict.


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