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

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs