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

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs