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In Bangladesh, a death sentence that was given to the leader of the country’s largest Islamist party, Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, was upheld. Kamaruzzaman, assistant secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami, was found guilty in May, 2013, by a special war crimes tribunal of torture and genocide.
Last week, the special war crimes tribunal also sentenced to death the Islamist party chief, Motiur Rahman Nizami, for his part in war crimes. Also given a death penalty, on Sunday, was party leader Mir Quasem Ali.
Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, who is 62, was charged with various atrocities that he allegedly committed during Banglasdesh’s war of independence from the country of Pakistan that took place in 1971.
He is alleged to have killed, at a minimum, 120 unarmed male farmers. This atrocity occurred in Sohagpur, a northern border town in Bangladesh.
Supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, protesting the convictions and the sentencing of Nizmi last Wednesday, conducted a three-day strike. It is set to end on Monday.
Bangladesh waged a nine-month war of secession from Pakistan in 1971. The death toll was high, with official government figures mentioning the number of people killed as being as many as 3 million. However, critics have argued that the number of people that the government alleges were killed is too high and cannot be verified.
The war crimes tribunal was instigated in 2010 by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The purpose of the tribunal is to prosecute people who participated in abuses that occurred during the country’s war of independence from Pakistan.
While critics state that the government of Bangladesh is using the war crimes tribunal to eliminate political opponents, the government of Bangladesh. led by Awami League, looks at the tribunal as being necessary as a means of helping Bangladesh both come to terms with the past and enable it to move forward. The supreme court’s upholding of the death sentence of Mohammad Kamaruzzaman is one of the ways that the country’s government hopes to accomplish these goals and move on into the future.
Written By Douglas Cobb
Photo by Lawguardian – Flickr License