The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [JURIST news archive] on Monday sentenced Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, a member of parliament for the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) [party website], to death for war crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. Chowdhury is the first member of the BNP to stand trial [BBC report] for war crimes under the tribunal set up by the Awami League [party website] led government in 2010. He was found guilty on nine of 23 charges stemming from accusations regarding his role in war crimes committed by pro-Pakistan militias. Chaowdhury is expected to appeal his conviction in the Supreme Court.
Bangladesh has suffered in recent months from a wave of violent protests over war crimes convictions against leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) [party website; GlobalSecurity backgrounder] party. Last month the Supreme Court of Bangladesh [official website] sentenced [JURIST report] Abdul Quader Mollah, assistant secretary general of the Islamist party JI, to death. This overturned a February ruling by the ICTB, which sentenced Mollah to life in prison for crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. 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.