Bangladesh legislator to hang for war crimes
Posted Wednesday, October 2 2013 at 01:00
An MP for Bangladesh’s main opposition party has been sentenced to death by a war crimes court for charges including murder and genocide during the 1971 war of independence with Pakistan.
Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, the first member of the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) to be tried by the court, was found guilty of nine out of 23 charges. The BNP has consistently argued that the trial is politically motivated.
Previous verdicts against Islamist leaders have been followed by protests. The war crimes tribunal was set up by the Awami League-led government in 2010 and opposition parties have accused it of pursuing a political vendetta against its opponents. Human rights groups have also said the tribunal falls short of international standards.
“We will do whatever we need to do to show the world that this is a farce,” the Reuters news agency quoted Chowdhury’s wife, Farhat Quader Chowdhury, as saying immediately afterwards. Security was tight in Dhaka where the verdict was heard in a packed courtroom. Chowdhury is expected to appeal against it.
But troops were also deployed to Chittagong, the home district of Chowdhury where he has been re-elected six times - and where there is likely to be anger at the verdict. Last month when the Supreme Court gave the death penalty to a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, Abdul Kader, there were demonstrations both for and against the decision.