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Bangladeshi faces life in jail for war crimes

Senior opposition member found guilty of crimes against humanity stemming from nation's 1971 independence war.

Last Modified: 09 Oct 2013 12:52
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Opposition supporters have protested against previous verdicts in the tribunal [EPA]

A special Bangladesh tribunal has found a senior member of the opposition guilty of crimes against humanity stemming from the nation's 1971 independence war and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

The prosecution says 83-year-old Abdul Alim of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party was found guilty on Wednesday of involvement in the killing of at least 600 people during the war.

Alim, who arrived at the packed court on a wheelchair, has denied the allegations and his lawyer Tajul Islam said they will appeal the verdict.

It is the eighth verdict delivered by the tribunal since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government ordered it formed in 2010 to prosecute war crimes.

Last week the tribunal sentenced another senior party member, Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, to death for crimes against humanity.

Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan in 1971 after a nine-month war. Historians say some 3 million people were killed and at least 200,000 women were raped.

The tribunal found Alim and his accomplices guilty of collaborating with Pakistani soldiers in killing civilians, mostly Hindus, a minority in largely Muslim Bangladesh. Prosecutors say Alim and his men set fire to Hindu homes and dragged residents outside before killing them, and on other occasions led Pakistani troops on raids to kill civilians.

Quoting the tribunal judges, chief prosecutor Tuhin Afroz said the court thought Alim deserved the death sentence for his crimes, but handed him a lesser penalty considering his old age and illness.


 

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