Fugitive opposition lawmaker gets death sentence for ‘crimes against humanity’ during Bangladesh’s independence war.
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – A Bangladeshi court handed down another death sentence on Wednesday to a two-time member of parliament and opposition leader for his alleged “crimes against humanity” during the country’s independence war in 1971.
The International Crimes Tribunal, a special domestic court tasked with investigating war crimes, delivered the verdict against Abdul Momin Talukder, former lawmaker of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, in absentia. Three cases had been filed against him over alleged war crimes in the northern Bogra district during the war against Pakistan.
He was accused of being a commander in the Razakar militia, which collaborated with the Pakistani army, as well as crimes against humanity including murder, torture, and kidnapping. He was not present as the verdict was read as he remains a fugitive and will first have to turn himself in to authorities to appeal against the ruling.
The case against Abdul Momin, a senior regional official of the BNP party, was filed against him in 2011, with the tribunal starting its investigation in 2016.
After the partition of India in 1947 and until 1971, Bangladesh was known as East Pakistan. The war began after the Pakistani army tried to suppress a movement in then-East Pakistan calling for equal rights and greater autonomy after decades of alleged oppression.
The court, set up in 2009, has handed verdicts in 39 cases against 97 people. Of these, 89 have been convicted, with 62 receiving death penalties.
Though it has popular support among many in Bangladesh, some opposition parties and international observers have claimed the court does not follow fair-trial standards and is politically motivated.