Crime & Justice

3 get prison until death for crimes during Bangladesh liberation war

Dhaka, Feb 11 (efe-epa).- Bangladesh’s war crimes tribunal sentenced three people in jail until death and five more to 20 years in prison on Thursday for crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 struggle for independence from Pakistan.

The three-judge panel of the International Crimes Tribunal, led by Justice Md Shahinur Islam, acquitted one of the accused in the killing of four people in Mymensingh five decades ago, Prosecutor Shahidur Rahman told EFE.

The prosecution had also charged the convicts for torturing nine people in confinement, arson attacks on four villages and looting during the war, the prosecutor said.

Rahman said they were members of the Razakar militia, a paramilitary force that supported the Pakistani cause and collaborated with the Pakistan Army during the war.

“The court sentenced three accused to jail until their death and five others to 20 years each,” said Shahidur.

He said the prosecution would wait until the full verdict was released to decide about appealing against the acquittal of one of the accused.

Among the 11 accused in the case, four were present when the verdict was announced while five faced the trial in absentia.

Two accused died during the trial, said the prosecutor.

This is the first verdict in a war crime case in 14 months and 42nd since the beginning of the tribunal, set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010 as part of her electoral pledge.

Since the first ruling was announced in 2013, a total of 103 people have been sentenced for war crime charges in Bangladesh.

Some 69 of them were sentenced to death by the tribunal. Six of them have been executed so far.

Five executed war crime convicts are members of the country’s largest Islamist party, the Jamaat-e Islami and one belonged to main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party.

The tribunal has now 36 cases pending for disposal. EFE-EPA


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