A Bangladesh court on Tuesday sentenced to death a top opposition MP for genocide, the first lawmaker to be convicted of war crimes during the 1971 war of independence.
Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was found guilty by the International Crimes Tribunal of nine charges including murder and religious persecution. Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said the tribunal convicted Chowdhury on nine of 23 charges, including four counts of genocide.
Chowdhury was found guilty of aiding and ordering the killing of at least 200 people, mostly minority Hindus, during the war in Chittagong. After the sentence was read out, a defiant Chowdhury accused the government of influencing the judge’s decision. Since January, the much-criticised International Crimes Tribunal has convicted seven people, including six Islamists, of crimes related to the nine-month war, in which pro-independence fighters battled Pakistani forces who were helped by local collaborators.
Meanwhile, clerics in Bangladesh held small protests Tuesday against Muhammad Yunus over comments he made in 2012 supporting gay rights, in the latest campaign against the Nobel laureate and micro-loan pioneer.
Islamic groups with links to the government in the deeply conservative Muslim country have organised the campaign against Yunus, saying he should be prosecuted for supporting homosexuals.