World Bulletin/News Desk
Bangladesh’s Supreme Court upheld the death penalty of a top party leader Monday for alleged crimes committed during the country’s 1971 war of independence.
The International Crimes Tribunal, which is a domestic court, had found Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, 62, assistant secretary general of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, guilty on five of the seven charges against him and sentenced him to death in May 2013.
This is the third verdict announced by the court’s appellate division in the war crimes trial.
Defense counsel Tajul Islam told reporters the lawyers for Kamaruzzaman would file a review petition soon.
Jamaat called for another strike for Wednesday to protest against the verdict. A three-day strike is already underway in protest against the death sentence for the party chief.
The court had also upheld the death penalty for another Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla, who was hanged in December 2013.
Another leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedi's death sentence was converted to life imprisonment in September 2013.
Last week, the tribunal had also found senior Jamaat leaders Motiur Rahman Nizami and Mir Quasem Ali guilty of war crimes and sentenced them to death last Wednesday and Sunday respectively.
The party has also announced its program of nationwide strikes against the verdicts.
The International Crimes Tribunal was established in 2009 to investigate war crimes committed in 1971. Bangladesh’s opposition parties and international organizations such as the Human Rights Watch have criticized the process and expressed concerns about the accused not getting a fair trial.
The tribunals have angered many who call them a politically motivated bid to persecute the leadership of Jamaat and weaken the opposition.
More than 200 people were killed in clashes last year, most of them party activists and security force members.
International human rights groups say the tribunal's procedures fall short of international standards.
What was East Pakistan at the end of British rule in 1947 broke away into independent Bangladesh in 1971 after a war between Bangladeshi nationalists, backed by India, and Pakistani forces. About three million people were killed in the war.
Some factions in Bangladesh, including the Jamaat, opposed the break with Pakistan, but the party denies accusations that its leaders committed war crimes.
Last Mod: 03 Kasım 2014, 12:37