A special Bangladeshi tribunal on Wednesday sentenced opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s (BNP) 83-year-old leader Abdul Alim to jail until death for committing large-scale killings and other war crimes during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan.
“He shall be kept in jail till he is dead,” pronounced chairman of the three-member International Crimes Tribunal Obaidul Hassan in a packed courtroom as wheelchair-bound Alim was brought to the dock.
Hassan said the prosecution had been able to prove Alim’s involvement beyond a shadow of doubt in nine of the 17 charges, including the one of genocide.
He said Alim deserved death sentence for his crimes but his old age and physical condition prompted the panel to relax the punishment.
Once a Muslim League leader, the fallen politician is the second BNP leader to be convicted and the third former minister to be found guilty of crimes committed to stop Bangladesh emerge as a sovereign nation.
The 191-page judgement came as the prosecution lawyers last month wrapped up their arguments demanding capital punishment for Alim, while the tribunal indicted him two years ago on 17 specific charges of crimes against humanity.
According to the charges, Alim killed or ordered killings of some 600 people Alim was also accused of looting, arson, deportation and detention of unarmed civilians.
A former minister in slain president and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) founder Zia-ur Rahman’s cabinet in late 1970s, Alim was arrested from his home in northwestern Joypurhat after the tribunal issued a warrant against him. He obtained a bail on heath grounds but the tribunal ordered him to be sent again to jail on September 22 after wrapping up the hearing.PTI