A war crimes tribunal of Bangladesh on Wednesday awarded Abdul Alim, a former BNP minister, ‘imprisonment till death’ for committing genocide and crimes against humanity during the liberation war 42 years ago.

Delivering the verdict, the chairman of the three-member International Crimes Tribunal-2, Justice Obaidul Hassan, said, “Abdul Alim deserves death. But, his poor health condition and disability to move are the reason that he has been sentenced to jail for the rest of his life”.

Nine out of the 17 charges against Alim (83), the Muslim League-activist-turned lawmaker of the main opposition party BNP, were proved beyond doubt, pronounced the tribunal. Alim is the second BNP leader convicted for war crimes and his party, opposed to the historic trial, is yet to announce its reactions.

Earlier on October 1, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 awarded death penalty to the party lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury for his wartime offences.

Alim’s verdict was the eighth delivered by the two tribunals since their establishment in March 2010.

The prosecution sought death penalty, claiming that they had proved the charges beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt. His lawyers however pleaded not guilty and sought his acquittal.

Genocide

The charges include three for genocide, one for abduction, one for forced deportation, 12 murders and a plot to kill 26 freedom fighters.

The Pakistani collaborator was indicted on three counts of genocide and 14 counts of crimes against humanity.

Of them, 15 charges were framed in connection with his involvement in the killing of at least 585 people in 15 incidents.

Groups of liberation war veterans, who waited hours outside the tribunal, youths who converged on the Shahbagh intersection and people across the country including those in the convict’s home district Joypurhat celebrated the verdict.