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Bangladesh war crimes tribunal sentences Islamist party leader to life

The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [Facebook page; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday handed down its second verdict, sentencing Abdul Quader Mollah, leader of the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) [party website; GlobalSecurity backgrounder], to life in prison. This sentence [Reuters report] comes a week after televangelist televangelist Abul Kalam Azad, also known as "Bachchu Razakar," was sentenced to death [JURIST report]. Both were indicted for crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder].

Bangladeshi officials established the ICTB [JURIST report] in March 2010 to investigate and prosecute crimes committed in the Bangladesh Liberation War, during which officials estimate that Pakistani soldiers and local militia participated in more than three million killings and 200,000 rapes. Since then, the ICTB has been fraught with controversy and conflict. The tribunal originally included three high court judges and six investigators retired from civilian, law enforcement and military careers, but Justice Mohammed Nizamul Huq resigned from his post [JURIST report] in December. In June the ICTB rejected a bail petition [JURIST report] from JI leader and former Parliament member Delwar Hossain Sayeedee. In November 2011 the ICTB began its first trial [JURIST report] with the case against Sayeedee. He is charged with 20 alleged violations of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act of 1973 [text, PDF] including genocide, arson, rape and torture.

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