Three Islamists were handed down the death penalty while five others have been jailed until death by a special tribunal in Dhaka on Monday. They were found guilty of committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 liberation war with Pakistan .
A three-member panel of judges of Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT-BD), led by Justice Anwarul Haque, pronounced the judgement as two of the convicts appeared on the dock while six others were tried in absentia as they were on the run to evade justice.
The verdict came as the prosecution accused all eight of five charges relating to crimes like mass murders, abductions, torture and looting.
Manned by activists of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, which was opposed to Bangladesh’s 1971 independence from Pakistan, the Al-Badr appeared as an extremely notorious force by carrying out brutal atrocities while siding with Pakistani troops.
The verdict came amid nationwide tensions, following the two back-to-back Islamist terror attacks in the country recently. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina hinted that Jamaat could be behind the assaults.
Bangladesh has so far executed four war criminals since the process of trying the top Bengali perpetrators of 1971 atrocities began, in line with Prime Minister Hasina’s electoral commitment in 2008.
(With inputs from PTI)