Bangladesh up­holds ’71 war death ver­dict


Bangladesh’s Supreme Court on Tues­day up­held the death sen­tence of a top Is­lamist party leader for war crimes and crimes against hu­man­ity dur­ing the in­de­pen­dence war against Pak­istan in 1971.

A four-mem­ber panel headed by the Chief Jus­tice S.K. Sinha dis­missed the ap­peal by Ja­maate-Is­lami party’s Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ali Ah­san Mo­ham­mad Mo­ja­heed.

He was con­victed of five charges in­clud­ing mur­der, ab­duc­tion and tor­ture in 2013. The same year, the High Court up­held the death sen­tence and Mo­ja­heed ap­pealed.

The 65-year-old will be hanged if the case is not re­viewed by the same court or if he doesn’t get a pres­i­den­tial clemency.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mah­bubey Alam said he was pleased with the rul­ing, but de­fense coun­sel Khandaker Mah­bub Hos­sain said Mo­ja­heed did not get proper jus­tice. Hos­sain said they would still seek a re­view of the de­ci­sion.

Hours af­ter the ver­dict, the Ja­maat- e- Is­lami party said in a state­ment it would en­force a 24-hour gen­eral strike start­ing at 6 a.m. on Wed­nes­day.

Bangladesh blames Pak­istani sol­diers and lo­cal col­lab­o­ra­tors for the deaths of 3 mil­lion peo­ple dur­ing the nine-month war of in­de­pen­dence from Pak­istan. An es­ti­mated 200,000 women were raped and about 10 mil­lion peo­ple fled to refugee camps in In­dia, which helped Bangladesh with train­ing, arms and other sup­port to fight.

Mo­ja­heed was found guilty of “su­pe­rior re­spon­si­bil­ity” and “crim­i­nal li­a­bil­ity” in the 1971 atroc­i­ties. The orig­i­nal ver­dicts said Mo­ja­heed was per­son­ally in­volved in sys­tem­atic per­se­cu­tion of Hin­dus and that he led a sys­tem­atic cam­paign to kill Bangladeshi in­tel­lec­tu­als, in­clud­ing teach­ers and jour­nal­ists.

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