A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Bangladesh top court sentences opposition leader to death

The Supreme Court of Bangladesh [official website] on Tuesday sentenced Abdul Quader Mollah, assistant secretary general of the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) [party website; GlobalSecurity backgrounder], to death. This overturned a February ruling by the International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [Facebook page; JURIST news archive], which sentenced Mollah to life in prison for crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. The life sentence triggered protests by both supporters of JI, as well as people hoping that Mollah would receive a death sentence. In response to these protesters, the Bangladesh parliament amended the law [Reuters report] to allow the state to appeal any sentence passed by the ICTB. Mollah's defense counsel stated that the sentence was politically motivated and said that he would file a petition for a review.

Bangladesh has suffered in recent months from a wave of violent protests over war crimes convictions against leaders of the JI party. In July Ali Ahsan Mojaheed was found guilty of five charges [JURIST report] by the ICTB, including those of kidnapping and killing a journalist, a music director and a number of other people during the war. Also in July Ghulam Azam, chief of JI in Bangladesh until 2000, was found guilty by the ICTB [JURIST report] of five charges of planning, conspiracy, incitement, complicity and murder during the war. In the same month, ATM Azharul Islam was required to report to the ICTB [JURIST report] to answer charges of murder, genocide, abduction, torture, rape, looting and arson. The ICTB began its first trial [JURIST report] in November 2011 and was first established in 2010 [JURIST report] to handle war crime charges stemming from the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.