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Bangladesh: Jamaat leader gets death for murder, torture of Hindus in 1971 war

A Dhaka tribunal on Wednesday sentenced Jamaat-e-Islami party secretary general Ali Ahsan Mojaheed to death for his role in the kidnapping and killing of people involving Bangladesh‘s independence war against Pakistan in 1971.

The verdict came on Wednesday in a packed courtroom in the capital, Dhaka, in presence of. The tribunal found him guilty of kidnapping and killing a journalist, a music director and a number of other people.

“The charges have been proved beyond doubt,” Justice Obaidul Hassan, the chief of the three-judge panel, said, according to a BD News 24 report.

Mojaheed faces seven charges including genocide, murder, conspiracy and complicity in atrocities during the war. He is accused of leading a notorious group that during the war kidnapped and killed many teachers, journalists and writers who supported the cause for independence.

The tribunal said Mujaheed was sentenced to death for the seventh charge – murder and torture of Hindu community – proven beyond any reasonable doubt, the report said.

Bangladesh says the Pakistani Army killed 3 million people and raped 200,000 women during the war.

To denounce the verdict, Jamaat-e-Islami enforced a daylong general strike across the country on Wednesday. No major violence was reported. The party indicated that it might extend the general strike to Thursday if Mojaheed was sentenced to death.

Protests over previous verdicts have turned deadly.

The Government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formed the tribunal in 2010 amid criticism from the main Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party, led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. Zia has said the tribunal is meant to weaken the Opposition. Jamaat-e-Islami is the main political ally of Zia’s party, and shared two posts in the Cabinet during Zia’s latest premiership in 2001-2006.

Hasina’s Government says it had pledged before the 2008 election to prosecute those responsible for war crimes. A political alliance led by Hasina’s Awami League party won the election with a two-third majority.

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