A special court dealing with crimes against humanity during Bangladesh’s war of independence against Pakistan on Wednesday sentenced a man to death and his brother to life imprisonment.
The International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Muhibur Rahman alias Boromian, 65, to death, while his younger brother Mujibur Rahman alias Angur Mian, 60, and their cousin Abdur Razzak, 63, were sent to jail until death.
The defendants were present when justice Anwarul Haque, who headed a three-member panel, announced the verdict.
The trio faced charges of killing two “freedom fighters” and raping women during the war that lasted for nine months in 1971 before Pakistani soldiers surrendered. They also faced charges of confining and torturing unarmed people during the war in Habiganj district in northeastern Bangladesh. India had helped Bangladesh in its fight against Pakistani military.
“We are happy with the outcome today,” said prosecution lawyer Sultan Mahmud Simon.
But defence expressed dissatisfaction and said they would appeal against the verdict in the higher court.
Wednesday’s decision by the court, set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010, comes as part of trials of the suspects for serious crimes like murders, rapes and arson.
Five senior leaders, including chief of Bangladesh’s Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami and three of his deputies have already been hanged while another belonging to main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia was also found guilty of those crimes.
Prime Minister Hasina faced huge challenge to go ahead with the trial of the suspected war criminals as they mostly belonged to Jamaat-e-Islami , which is the key ally of the BNP.
There were also concerns that the trial process lacked international standards. But the government has strongly resisted criticism, saying it is maintaining standards and the defendants have got all the due legal process.