South Asia

Bangladesh SC upholds opposition leaders’ death sentences

The Bangladesh Supreme Court has upheld the death sentences of two opposition leaders convicted for war crimes committed during the country’s 1971 Liberation War.

One of them is Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, the present secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami, who was chief of the dreaded Al Bard killing squad that annihilated scores of Bengali intellectuals in 1971.

The other is Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, currently the presidium member of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), who was the ‘terror in Chittagong’ as a local collaborator of the Pakistani Army.

A four-member Appellate Division bench headed by Chief Justice S.K. Sinha delivered the verdict wrapping up the judicial process regarding the trial of the two leaders.

Last option

With Wednesday’s verdicts, the two convicted leaders are left with the last option of seeking presidential clemency. “There are no legal hurdles to execute the war criminals now,” Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told reporters after the verdict.

Chowdhury, then a young leader opposing Bangladesh’s freedom from Pakistan, filed the review petition at the apex court seeking acquittal on all the charges.

The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) issued death warrant for him on October 1, a day after the Supreme Court released its full verdict of the appeal hearing.

On October 1, 2013, the tribunal found Chowdhury, 66, guilty of nine of the 23 charges brought against him, including crimes against humanity.

He was handed death penalty for four charges – involvement in the killing of a reputed herbal medicine guru, Natun Chandra Singha, pro-independence leader Mozaffar Ahmed and his son; and genocide in his village Raozan of Chittagong .

The Supreme Court on June 16 this year upheld the death penalty of Mojaheed, 67, for planning and instigating the killing of intellectuals and professionals towards the end of the Liberation War.

Hartal called

JeI has called a day-long hartal on Thursday protesting the court verdicts.

The authorities have tightened security in Dhaka and other major towns suspecting sabotage by supporters of the convicts.

Along with the police, elite Rapid Action Battalion and Border Guard Bangladesh were also deployed.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 10:37:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/bangladesh-sc-upholds-opposition-leaders-death-sentences/article7891374.ece

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