CC News: Two more war crimes convicts fret about their fate after Bangladesh executed war criminal Mohammad Kamaruzzaman on Saturday. The cases of Jamaat-e-Islami’s Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed and BNP’s Salauddin Quader Chowdhury are leading the Appellate Division’s cause list.
They were expected to be heard last Tuesday, but the day’s hearing ended before they could be brought up. Nine war crimes cases await the top court’s verdict.
Altogether 14 such cases made their way to the appeals court and final verdicts have been issued in three of them. Death sentences of Jamaat’s assistant secretaries general Abdul Quader Molla Kamaruzzaman have been carried out.
Jamaat’s Executive Council Member Delwar Hossain Sayedee’s death penalty was commuted to a life imprisonment. But an appeal for a review has not been resolved since the full verdict is yet to be published.
Jamaat’s Liberation War-time chief Ghulam Azam and BNP’s former minister Abdul Alim died during the trial. The Supreme Court declared their appeal proceedings defunct.
Bangladesh put suspected war criminals on trial after the government set up a special tribunal in 2010. A second one was formed two years later to expedite the trials.
An estimated three million people were killed and over 200,000 women raped during the Liberation War in 1971. About 10 million people were forced to seek refuge in India.
The Jamaat, which came out strongly in support of a united, non-secular and Bengali-hating Pakistan, is accused of perpetrating war crimes.
So far, the tribunals have delivered 17 verdicts and most of the convicts are from Jamaat, a party whose registration was scrapped by the High Court in 2013.
The party alleges the tribunals fall short of international standards and accuses the government of carrying out political vendetta — a charge the government rejects.
Mujaheed and SQ Chowdhury
Bangladesh’s second war crimes tribunal sentenced “atrocious” Al-Badr commander Mujaheed to death on July 17, 2013 for killing of intellectuals and murder and torture of Hindus. He challenged the verdict on Aug 11 the same year.
Although the prosecution did not move the court, it said it would take part in the hearing and argue for the upholding of the sentence.
The first war crimes tribunal on Oct 1, 2013 sentenced Chittagong’s wartime terror Salauddin Quader Chowdhury to death for crimes “that tremble the collective conscience of mankind”.
He was found guilty of murdering Kundeshwari Oushadhalaya owner Nutan Chandra Singha, genocide of Hindus at Sultanpur and Unsattar Parha, and abduction and murder of a Hathazari Awami League leader and his son Sheikh Alamgir.
Chowdhury was the first sitting MP to be convicted of war crimes.
The BNP Standing Committee member challenged the verdict in court on Oct 29 the same year.