Crime & Justice

Bangladesh court sentences 6 to death for war crimes during freedom movement

Dhaka, Jul 28 (EFE).- Bangladesh’s war crimes tribunal sentenced six people to death on Thursday for crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 struggle for independence from Pakistan.

The three-judge bench of the International Crimes Tribunal, led by Justice Md Shahinur Islam, handed down the verdict against the convicts for the killing of unarmed freedom fighters and members belonging to the minority Hindu community in southwestern Khulna district, Prosecutor Mokhlesur Rahman Badal told EFE.

Badal said they were found guilty on all four charges brought against them for aiding, abetting, facilitating, and participating in crimes against humanity and genocide.

“They killed many people and set fire to many houses belonging to Hindus. The tribunal found all six accused guilty of the four charges brought against them and handed them death sentences for each charge,” Badal said.

Five of the six accused in the case were arrested in 2017 and were present at the court when the verdict was announced, while one has been absconding and was tried in absentia, according to the prosecutor.

This is the 48th verdict in a war crime case since the tribunal was set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010 as part of her electoral promise.

Since the first ruling was announced in 2013, a total of 119 out of 135 accused have been sentenced for war crimes in Bangladesh, said the office of the prosecutor.

Two accused have been acquitted by the court, while the remaining 14 have died in jail during their trial.

Of those convicted, 84 were sentenced to death, four were handed life-terms, 25 were sentenced to be imprisoned until death, and six others got shorter jail sentences.

Six of those sentenced to death have been executed so far, and five of them were members of the country’s largest Islamist Party, the Jamaat-e Islami, and one belonged to the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

There are currently another 37 such cases pending before the court, according to the public prosecutor’s office. EFE


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