A Bangladesh court upheld the death penalty for 139 soldiers yesterday over their role in a “brutal and barbaric” mutiny in which dozens of top army officers were
In delivering his verdict Justice Md Abu Zafor Siddique described the 2009 slaughter of 74 people – including 57 top brass – as an unprecedented atrocity in Bangladesh’s relatively short history.
“It was the most heinous, brutal and barbaric carnage of our history,” he told the Dhaka courtroom of the two-day massacre in which victims were shot, hacked to death and burned alive by marauding troops.
The sentences will be appealed again in the Supreme Court, which by law has the final say in all capital punishment cases.
In 2013, a court sentenced 152 soldiers to death for the grisly killings in a mass trial criticised by the United Nations rights chief as failing to meet basic standards of due process.
One of those handed the death penalty died in custody, eight others had sentences commuted to life imprisonment and four were acquitted.
Thousands were rounded up and tried in special military courts in the aftermath of the massacre, as the newly-elected government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wrestled to regain control in a country prone to military coups.
Hundreds were singled out for trial in civilian courts and handed punishments ranging from death to a few years.
The high court in Dhaka yesterday upheld sentences of mixed severity to more than 380 accused, including 185 life sentences, prosecutor Jahid Sarwar Kazal said.
“Forty-five people were
acquitted,” he added.
The mutineers stole thousands of weapons in February 2009 from the headquarters of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) paramilitary squad before embarking on a killing spree in the barracks.
The home of the BDR chief was also stormed and his wife, guests and staff slaughtered
before the building was razed.
The remains of those butchered in the carnage were dumped in sewers or shallow graves.
“Nowhere in the world did anything happen like the way those 57 top army officers were killed,” Bangladesh Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told reporters outside the courthouse.
The uprising quickly spread to other military bases, with thousands of soldiers seizing weapons and pledging allegiance to the mutineers in Dhaka before it was quashed by the army.
An official investigation into the mutiny blamed years of pent-up anger among ordinary soldiers, who felt their appeals for pay rises and better
treatment were ignored.
Rights groups criticised the scale of the punishments meted out en masse, claiming the trials were “an affront to international
Bangladesh defended the death sentences, insisting those convicted would have a chance to appeal and denying claims that confessions were extracted through torture
march 13, 2014
District Judge of Woman and Child Repression Control Tribunal Fatema Nazib passed the order on Wednesday.
The convicted was identified as Mohammad Faruk, a carpenter and son of Yunus Chulder of Kishoredia village of Rajoir Upazila in Madaripur district.
Special Public Prosecutor Mohammad Shahjahan told reporters that the convict had been on the run after securing bail from the trial court.
According to the case details, Faruk attacked wife Salma Begum, 34, with a brick which caused her to death at Ershadnagar, a colony for the destitute, in Tongi on Oct 19, 2011.
Salma’s mother filed a lawsuit with the Tongi Police Station under the Women and Children Repression Control Tribunal over the murder.
The police had arrested Faruk, but he has been on run after securing bail from the court three months ago.
The relatives said that after their marriage, Faruk used to stay at the house of his in-laws and that he killed Salma for failing to get land’s ownership as dowry.
Special Public Prosecutor Mohammad Shahjahan said that the couple had two sons – Mohammad Sakib, 8, and Mohammad Rakib, 16.
The two sons also testified against their father at the hearing.
The court recorded deposition from seven witnesses.
Advocate Zakir Hossain of Gazipur Judge Court argued for the accused at the hearing.
The leader of the main Islamist opposition party was among 14 people convicted and sentenced to death on Thursday for smuggling weapons to a rebel group in India nearly a decade ago.
In April 2004, security officials seized more than 4,000 firearms, ammunition and other military equipment from fishing boats.
According to case documents, the shipments were meant for Indian insurgents in Assam State, who signed a truce with the Indian government in 2011.
Among those sentenced to death were Matiur Rahman Nizami, the leader of the main Islamist opposition party, Jamaat-e-Islami, two former intelligence officials and a former cabinet official.
(Source: AP) #deathpenalty
Tribunal finds Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, secretary-general of Jamaat-e-Islam, guilty of war crimes.
A Bangladesh court has sentenced a senior leader of the country’s largest Islamic party to death for war crimes committed during the 1971 independence war against Pakistan.
Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, 65, was found guilty by the International Crimes Tribunal of five charges, including abduction and murder, and was sentenced to death, MK Rahman, Bangladesh’s junior attorney-general and prosecutor said on Wednesday.
“In three out of five charges he was given the death sentence,” Rahman said after the verdict in the capital, Dhaka.
Mojaheed, the secretary-general of Jamaat-e-Islam, had faced seven charges of murder, mass killing, torture, arson and abduction during he war of liberation against Pakistan.
The tribunal found him guilty of kidnapping and killing a journalist, a music director and other people.
He had been accused of leading a notorious group that during the war kidnapped and killed many teachers, journalists and writers who supported the cause for independence.
Al Jazeera’s Tanvir Chowdhury, reporting from Dhaka, said that Mojaheed could appeal the sentence and general elections were due to be held in five months’ time, which could prompt a retrial.
Mojaheed’s son had earlier told Al Jazeera that the crimes his father was accused of were politically motivated.
Mojaheed was an influential minister in the 2001-2006 government headed by Khaleda Zia, the present head of the
opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
Bangladesh had shut down for a third straight day on Wednesday, after Jamaat supporters called a nationwide strike over the 90-year sentence given to Ghulam Azam, the 90-year-old spiritual leader of the Islamic party.
Shops and businesses were closed and main roads were largely deserted of cars in the capital Dhaka.
Bangladesh has said that the Pakistani army killed three million people and raped 200,000 women during the war.
(Source: Al Jazeera)