Bangladesh upholds top Islamist figure′s death sentence | News | DW | 03.11.2014
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Bangladesh upholds top Islamist figure's death sentence

Bangladesh's top court has upheld a death sentence against a leading figure in the country's biggest Islamist party. Mohammed Kamaruzzaman was convicted of war crimes related to the country's 1971 independence conflict.

The Supreme Court in Dhaka on Monday upheld the death sentence, which was handed down last year by a special tribunal set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to try alleged local collaborators with the Pakistani military during the country's war of independence.

In a decision handed down last May, the International War Crimes Tribunal - despite its name, a judicial body - had found Kamaruzzaman, an assistant secretary-general of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, guilty of mass murder, torture and abductions during the nine-month 1971 conflict in which East Pakistan broke away from Islamabad.

Although Kamaruzzaman's defense team has said it would seek to file a petition against the verdict, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told reporters that the decision was final.

"It's now up to authorities to decide when he will be executed, " Alam said shortly after the ruling was announced.

Kamaruzzaman, 62, would be the second senior member of the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami to be executed after another senior official, Abdul Quader Molla, was put to death for war crimes last December.

Since the tribunal was set up in 2010, a total of 12 people, mostly senior Jamaat-e-Islami figures, have been convicted. Two were sentenced to death in the last week alone.

Critics of the government accuse it of using the trials to target opposition politicians, however the prime minister's Awami League party argues that they are necessary for Bangladesh to come to terms with its past.

pfd/mkg (AFP,AP)

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