World

Bangladesh opposition leaders to hang for war crimes

18 November 2015 - 48   - 0

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh's Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected final appeals from two opposition leaders against death sentences for atrocities committed during the 1971 war of independence, rulings that are likely to spark protests by their supporters.

Muslim-majority Bangladesh has seen a rise in Islamist violence in recent months, with two foreigners and four secular writers and a publisher killed this year.

Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, 67, secretary general of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was found guilty of five charges including torture and the murders of intellectuals and minority Hindus while he commanded Al Badr, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani army, during the war to break away from Pakistan.

Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, 66, former legislator from former premier Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was convicted in October 2013 on charges of genocide, religious persecution, abduction and torture during the war.

"The entire nation is happy with the verdicts," Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told reporters outside the packed court amid tight security.

The rulings mean the two could be hanged at any time unless they seek mercy from the president.

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