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Bangladesh Upholds Death Sentence for Opposition Leader

FILE - Bangladesh opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party senior leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury waves as he arrives to appear before a special war crimes tribunal in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013.

Bangladesh's Supreme Court upheld a death sentence against opposition leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury on Wednesday in connection with mass killings during the country's 1971 war for independence from Pakistan.

Chowdhury is a leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and was an aide to former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

A tribunal set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina found him guilty on multiple counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2013. Those charges included murder, genocide, abduction and torture.

Prosecutors said Chowdhury joined Pakistani forces and other fighters in committing atrocities in Chittagong and took part in large scale killing of unarmed Hindus.

He denied the charges, saying he was not in the country at the time, but the tribunal said evidence proved otherwise.

The special tribunals in Bangladesh have sentenced at least 10 opposition leaders for war crimes since 2010. Both the BNP and the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami parties denounce the trials as politically motivated attempts to target opposition members.

Bangladesh says local collaborators and Pakistani soldiers killed 3 million people, raped 200,000 women and displaced about 10 million to refugee camps in neighboring India.