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Bangladesh Supreme Court upholds death sentence for coup officers

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Bangladesh [official website] on Thursday denied the appeals of five former military officers sentenced to death for the 1975 military coup assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman [Hindustan Times profile], the country's first leader. Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed [official website], Mujibur's daughter, praised [press release] the latest decision in the 16-year old murder trial [ALBD timeline]. The convicted officers, who are currently in prison, may appeal to the prime minister for clemency. Hasina had promised to make her father's murder trial a priority of her administration when she was elected in 2008 to a second term in office [JURIST report].

Mujibur and 16 family members were killed during a military coup that erupted only four years after Bangladesh won independence [TIME backgrounder] from Pakistan in 1971. In April, the government of Bangladesh announced [JURIST report] that it was working with the UN to establish prosecutions of alleged war crimes committed during the 1971 War of Independence [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. The country ended 2 years of emergency rule in December 2008, with the government declaring [JURIST reports] its intent to restore [Daily Star report] the 1972 constitution [text, PDF].

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