Posted On 03 Nov 2013
DHAKA, Nov. 3 (nsnewswire) — A tribunal has issued death penalty verdict against two Al-Badar leaders, who had masterminded the massacre of intellectuals during the country’s war of independence in 1971.
The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-2 pronounced the verdict in absentia Sunday afternoon on a crime against humanity case, awarding death sentences to Chowdhury Moinuddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan, who were allegedly leaders of Al-Badar, an auxiliary group of then Pakistan army.
Justice Obaidul Hassan, head judge of ICT-2, announced that all the 11 charges, which include mass killings, murder, genocide and conspiracy to kill intellectuals during the country’s Liberation War in 1971, against Al-Badar leaders were proved beyond reasonable doubt.
The Al-Badar leaders were charged with the murder of 18 intellectuals — nine professors six journalists and three doctors at the end of the war.
The three-member panel of the ICT-2 read the summary of the 154-page verdict at a jam-packed court room in the presence of a huge crowd of people particularly journalists and lawyers amid tightened security in and around the tribunal.
The war crimes court in June this year framed charges against Moinuddin and Khan.
“Ashrafuzzaman Khan is now staying in New York and Chowdhury Moinuddin is living in London,” Prosecutor Zeyad Al Malum had earlier told reporters.
After returning to power in January 2009, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of Bangladesh’s independence hero Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, established the first tribunal in March 2010, almost 40 years after the 1971 fight for independence from Pakistan to castigate those committed crimes against humanity during the nine-month war.
Since Jan. 21 this year, two tribunals dealing with the war crimes cases have so far delivered verdicts in eight cases.
Eight current and former leaders of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and it’s key ally Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party had earlier been sentenced to either death or life imprisonment for crimes against humanity linked to the country’s war of independence.
Jamaat, which denies any role in war crimes committed by pro- Pakistan militias, says Hasina’s ruling Bangladesh Awami League party has targeted the party to split the Khaleda Zia-led 18-party main opposition alliance which has been waging movement to press home its demand for restoration of non-party caretaker government to oversee next national elections slated for early 2014.