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Bangladesh Delays War Crimes Verdict

  • VOA News

Police officers stand guard in front of the gate of International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) before a verdict against Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami in Dhaka, June 24, 2014. The ICT postponed the verdict due to his illness, local media r
Bangladesh's war crimes court has delayed a verdict for the leader of a radical Islamist party, after medical officials said he was too ill to appear in court.

A special tribunal for Jemaat-e-Islami leader Motiur Rahman Nizami was to deliver the verdict Tuesday. But the head judge told reporters that announcing a verdict without the defendant present would not be logical. A new date for the ruling has not been set.

Nizami faces 16 charges including genocide, murder, torture, rape, and destruction of property from the country's war of independence with Pakistan in 1971.

Security was high across Bangladesh in advance of the expected verdict, which could include the death penalty.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has set up a pair of war crimes courts that have sentenced at least 10 opposition leaders for war crimes since their creation in 2010.

On Monday, a Bangladesh court sentenced to death eight members of an outlawed Islamist militant group for killing 10 people and wounding dozens more in a bombing that targeted a new year's celebration. Six other people were sentenced to life in prison for the 2001 bombing in Dhaka.

The leader of the banned group Harkatul Jihad, Mufti Abdul Hannan, is among those sentenced to death.