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Bangladesh court orders new war crimes death sentence

16th Jul 2015
Bangladesh court orders new war crimes death sentence

 

 

By Mainul Islam Khan

DHAKA,  (AA): A Bangladeshi special court has handed down the latest in a line of death sentences to a former political activist prosecuted for war crimes.

On Thursday, the International Crimes Tribunal, a domestic court, found Forkan Malik guilty of rape and murdering civilians.

“The court observed that he willingly committed these crimes, especially on the Hindu community,” prosecutor Mokhlesur Rahman Badal told reporters.

Malik was arrested from the southern town of Barisal last year and was a former member of the then-Muslim league during Bangladesh’s 1971 war for independence from Pakistan.

The court found him guilty of joining the Razakar militia which collaborated with the Pakistani army and was accused of committing war crimes.

Bangladesh has accused the Pakistani army and its local collaborators of killing up to 3 million people during the 1971 war, as well as setting fire to villages and raping thousands of women.

After the partition of India in 1947 and until 1971, Bangladesh was known as East Pakistan. The war began after the Pakistani army tried to suppress a movement in then-East Pakistan calling for equal rights and greater autonomy after decades of alleged oppression.

Bangladesh has already executed two of the death sentences for Abdul Quader Molla and Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami party.

Jamaat-e-Islami is the third largest political party in Bangladesh but most of its membership were allegedly militia commanders accused of committing war crimes and have been sentenced to death.

The International Crimes Tribunal, set up in 2009 to investigate the war crimes, has so far passed 19 verdicts, sentencing most to death or life imprisonment.

Bangladesh’s opposition parties and international organizations such as Human Rights Watch have criticized the process and expressed concerns about the accused not receiving fair trials.

 
[Archive Photo: A family member of Jamaat-e-Islami party leader Mohammad Kamaruzzaman speaks to the media after meeting with him who was sentenced to death after being found guilty of war crimes, at the Dhaka Central Jail on April 11, 2015 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photographer: Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/Anadolu Agency]

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