Dhaka – A special court on Wednesday sentenced two men to death for crimes committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of liberation, officials said.
The International Crimes Tribunal handed down the verdict against Moslem Pradhan, 66, and Syed Mohammad Hossain, 64, for killing at least 50 people in northern Kishoreganj district during the nine-month war.
They were also convicted of rape, torture and other forms of crimes against humanity, prosecutor Tureen Afroz told reporters after the three-member court headed by Justice Anwarul Haque delivered the justice.
Prodhan and Hossain, two aides of the Pakistan army and members of Razakar force, carried out atrocities on the unarmed civilians in the northern district.
“All the six counts of allegations brought against them (the accused) were proved beyond doubt,” the lawyer said adding that the court verdict says the execution could be carried out either by hanging or by shooting as the government decides.
Moslem has been in jail and was on the dock when the court pronounced the verdict. Hossain is absconding.
Moslem of Kamarhati village in Nikli upazila was arrested on July 7, 2015 after the tribunal issued an arrest warrant.
Investigators say that Hossain left for Malaysia on May 21, 2014 and never returned.
The tribunal on May 9, 2016 framed charges against them for trial.
Six politicians, mostly from Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, were hanged for convictions in war crimes after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina set up the tribunal in 2010.
Jamaat and a few other political parties opposed the creation of Bangladesh and aided the Pakistan army to carry out atrocities on the unarmed civilians.
Head of Jamaat-e-Islami party Motiur Rahman Nizami, 73, and its front-ranking leaders Abdul Kader Mollah, Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and Mir Quasem Ali, and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury were executed since 2013.
The defendants collaborated with the occupying army during the nine-month conflict.
East Pakistan became Bangladesh after the fighting ended with the surrender of Pakistani forces on December 16, 1971.
An earlier initiative to prosecute the suspects was called off following the 1975 assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh’s founding leader and father of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.