A leader of the Bangladesh Opposition is found guilty of torture and mass murder
Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, one of the leaders of the Opposition in Bangladesh has been sentenced to death by the war crimes tribunal. He has been charged and found guilty for mass murder as well as torture, rape and kidnap, which he is supposed to have commited during the 1971 war of independence.
The Independent reports:
Today's verdict against Muhammad Kamaruzzaman was the fourth in Bangladesh's war crimes tribunals since January, and many feared it could spark another wave of deadly street violence between his supporters and security forces.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called the trials a long-overdue effort at obtaining justice against war criminals four decades after Bangladesh split from Pakistan. Critics accuse Hasina of using the tribunals to decimate the country's opposition parties ahead of elections scheduled for next year.
Kamaruzzaman, 61, was convicted in a packed courtroom on five counts of mass killings, rape, torture and kidnapping, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said.
Obaidul Hassan, the head of the three-judge tribunal, said the charges had been proved beyond a doubt and sentenced him to death.
Defense lawyer Ehsan Siddiky said justice was denied to his client and he promised to appeal.
During the trial, Kamaruzzaman denied the allegations and said the prosecution was politically motivated.
Kamaruzzaman is the assistant secretary-general of Jamaat-e-Islami, a hardline Islamic party that opposed Bangladesh's independence, but denies participating in wartime atrocities. The party is a key partner in the opposition coalition.