Bangladesh hands death sentence to 5 for war crimes

BD News 24

Controversial tribunal finds elderly men guilty of murder and rape during liberation war


A Bangladeshi court on Monday sentenced five men to death over alleged crimes in the 1971 liberation war.

The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), a local court formed for cases related to the war, convicted them for crimes against humanity, including murder and rape.

All of the convicts — Esahaq Shikder, 83; Abdul Goni Hawlader, 72; Md Awal alias Awal Moulavi, 69; Abdus Sattar Pyada, 65; and Solaiman Mridha, 86 — had pleaded not guilty.

Defense lawyer Abdus Sattar Paloyan rejected the court ruling stating that his clients had been denied justice, adding that he would file an appeal in the High Court.

This is not the first time the ICT, a controversial tribunal, convicted elderly people — mostly political opponents — for alleged crimes during the war almost 48 years ago, that marked the country’s secession from Pakistan.

The ICT is a domestic tribunal in Bangladesh set up in 2009 in order to investigate and prosecute suspects of war crimes in 1971 — allegedly committed by the Pakistani military and their local collaborators in Bangladesh.

However, the tribunal is accused of being used against political opponents under the pretext of punishing the war criminals.

Following the formation of the court, international human rights group, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, voiced their deep concern over the “unfair trial” process and absence of the court’s international standard.

Since then, the court has convicted over 20 men, including leading Islamic leaders in the country.

In 2013, the authority executed six of them sparking nationwide protests.

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