Bangladesh court sentences man to death for 1971 war crimes

AP News
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Posted: Jun 01, 2016 9:00 AM

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A special court in Bangladesh sentenced a man to death and two of his associates to life in prison on Wednesday after finding them guilty of killing two local fighters during the country's 1971 war of independence against Pakistan.

The three were also convicted on charges of raping women and confining and torturing unarmed people. The eastern wing of Pakistan seceded as Bangladesh in 1971.

The three-member International Crimes Tribunal, set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010, announced the decision in a packed courtroom in Dhaka. Defense attorneys said they would appeal the verdict to a higher court.

Five senior leaders, including the chief of Bangladesh's largest Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and three of his deputies, have already been hanged after being found guilty of war crimes. A senior leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, has also been executed.

The parties say the trials are politically motivated, a charge the government denies.

Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed 3 million people and raped 200,000 women during the nine-month war of independence. About 10 million people fled to refugee camps in India, which helped Bangladesh with training, arms and other support.