News / Asia

Bangladesh Opposition Leader Sentenced to Death for War Crimes

Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, a senior opposition leader, waves to the media after he arrives at the war crime tribunal, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Oct. 1, 2013.
Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, a senior opposition leader, waves to the media after he arrives at the war crime tribunal, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Oct. 1, 2013.
Anjana Pasricha
— A war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh has handed the death penalty to a senior member and lawmaker from the main opposition party for his role in the country’s 1971 war of independence. It is the seventh verdict announced against opposition leaders by the controversial court and has raised fears of more political violence in the country.
 
Security was tight in the packed Dhaka courtroom where Bangladesh Nationalist party leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury was handed the death penalty for genocide, abduction and torture, among other charges.
 
He is the first sitting member of parliament and the first leader of the main opposition BNP to be sentenced in connection with the mass killings and other crimes that took place in 1971, when the country broke free of Pakistan after a bloody struggle.

  • People shout slogans as they celebrate the death sentence of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, Dhaka, Oct. 1, 2013.
  • Activists celebrate the death sentence of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, Dhaka, Oct. 1, 2013.
  • Farhat Quader Chowdhury, the wife of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, speaks to the media after her husband was sentenced to death, Dhaka, Oct. 1, 2013.
  • Salaudin Quader Chowdhury waves on his way into court, Dhaka, Oct. 1, 2013. 
  • Police stand guard in front of the war crime tribunal as the court sentences Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, Dhaka, Oct. 1, 2013.

After the sentence was read out, Chowdhury accused the government of orchestrating the verdict, saying “it came from the Law Ministry. It has been available on the Internet since yesterday.”

Ataur Rahman, a political professor at Dhaka University, said the 64-year-old Chowdhury is an influential leader from a well connected political family. “He has been a member of parliament for 37 years. He is popular and powerful, and popularity and power in Bangladesh go hand in hand.”

Troops deployed

Fearing violence, the government deployed troops in Chittagong, Chowdhury’s home district.

The government opened the inquiry against nine senior opposition leaders nearly 40 years after the country’s independence struggle, during which some local leaders were accused of collaborating with Pakistani forces. Seven are Islamists from the Jamaat-e-Islami. Two are from the BNP.  

Both parties denounce the trials as politically motivated and say they are an effort to decimate the opposition. The trials have triggered violent street protests since the tribunal began handing down the verdicts earlier this year. At least 100 people have been killed.

Analysts say the trials have deepened divisions in a country which is deeply politically polarized. They say both the BNP and the Jamaat-e -Islami are likely to join hands to create a new momentum against the government, which has to hold elections by January next year.
 
Political commentator Rahman said there also is a measure of public opposition to the trials. “Even the saner elements within the society think that this should be as [a] symbolic verdict. This capital punishment inspire a lot of negativity and also people are thinking that the government is trying to reap the political dividend out of this whole process of trial.”
 
The government says the trials will heal the wounds of the 1971 war. Human rights groups say the war crimes tribunal does not meet international standards.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rahi from: Toronto
October 03, 2013 7:40 PM
While the founder of the Bangladesh had released all Pakistani military officers (around 200) named to be trialed for war crimes after Shemla Agreement in 1972(Among Bangladesh, India and Pakistan). Now the real military personal were forgiven and after 40 yrs civilians are at target. This will creat alot of problems internally in Bangladeshi society and politics. Better to follow their founder, Sheikh Mubeebur Rahman`s policy who released all prisoners (96,000) at that time. God Bless Bangla Desh and its people.


by: Ased from: US
October 02, 2013 9:48 PM
Well, I have been following up on this War Tribunal in Bangladesh which seems to be designed to get rid of all opposition. The man concerned here was at that time in what was West Pakistan and 100s of affidavits from recognizable and esteemed individuals were rejected, 100s who were to come to testify were not allowed visa and 100s of defense witnesses were not allowed in. .. Its pathetic that the guilty verdict was already online (2 days in advance, minor calculating mistake) while the court was still in session.. That should be enough for anyone without bias to know what really is going on.


by: KARUNA from: COIMBATORE
October 01, 2013 10:41 AM
HEADING A VIOLENT GROUP PROTECT THE WAR-CRIMINALS AND ALSO MAKE THEM LAW MAKERS FOR DECADES WITHOUT LET UP. ONE CAN NOW UNDERSTAND THAT SINGAPORE-FOUNDER DECLARED TO THE WORLD THAT RAJABAKSHE A SINHALA TERRORIST AND HRNCE BUTCHERED THE MINORITIES NUMBERINGMORE THAN 1 LAC-ALL WOMEN,CHILDREN,AND THE OLD. THE UN HAD FAILED TO STOP SUCH LARGE KILLING AS REPORTED BY BAN-KI-MOON. NOWUN SHOULD FOLLOW THE FOOT STEPS OF BANGLADESH IN HANGING THE WAR CRIMINALS IN SRILANKA EARLY.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid