World Bulletin / News Desk
A Bangladeshi tribunal sentenced a leader of the country's main Islamic party to life in jail Tuesday for his role during the independence war against Pakistan in 1971.
Some reports say defendants are already clear to be executed in 26 March 2013, despite repeated denials of govt, saying the trial has yet to conclude.
The tribunal pronounced the verdict Tuesday against Abdul Quader Mollah in a packed courtroom at the High Court in Dhaka. His Jamaat-e-Islami party had already ordered a general strike that shut down schools and shops and halted most traffic in Dhaka.
Mollah and five other leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami party have been on trial before Dhaka's International Crimes Tribunal. They have been accused of committing atrocities during the nine-month war against Pakistan more than 40 years ago. A former party member was sentenced to death last month.
The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010 initiated the process. Jamaat-e-Islami — a key partner in a former Bangladeshi government — says the charges are politically motivated. Authorities deny the claim.
Bangladesh became part of Pakistan at the end of British occupation in 1947 but it broke away from Pakistan in 1971 after a war between Bangladeshi nationalists, who were backed by India, and Pakistani forces.
Some factions in Bangladesh opposed the break with Pakistan.
Mollah was tried on six counts, including playing a role in the killing of 381 unarmed civilians, the prosecution says. He denied the charges.
Last month, the tribunal sentenced former party member Abul Kalam Azad to death in the first war-crimes trial verdict.
International human rights groups have raised questions about the conduct of the tribunals, including the disappearance of a defense witness outside the courthouse gates.
Jamaat-e-Islami was a key partner in the former government of Khaleda Zia, a longtime political rival of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Zia has called the tribunal a farce, while Hasina has urged Zia to stop backing those she says fought against independence.Last Mod: 05 Şubat 2013, 09:50