The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [JURIST news archive] on Sunday sentenced two men to death for crimes during the Bangladesh Liberation War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] in 1971. The court found Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan, both members of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) [party website; GlobalSecurity backgrounder] party, guilty of abducting and murdering 18 people [AP report] in December 1971. JI is an ally of Bangladesh's main opposition group, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) [party website]. Bangladesh claims that Pakistani soldiers and local collaborators killed three million people and raped 200,000 women during the 1971 war.
Bangladesh has suffered in recent months from a wave of violent protests over war crimes convictions against leaders of the JI party. Last month a court indicted [JURIST report] BNP leader Zahid Hossain Khokon in absentia on war crimes charges. Earlier in October a member of parliament for the BNP, Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, was sentenced to death [JURIST report] for war crimes committed during the Liberation War. In September the Supreme Court of Bangladesh [official website] sentenced [JURIST report] Abdul Quader Mollah, JI assistant secretary general, to death. This overturned a February ruling by the ICTB, which sentenced Mollah to life in prison for crimes committed during the 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.