Bangladesh Jamaat leader gets 90 years imprisonment for genocide

published on July 15, 2013

After a 32-year hiatus from 1971 Liberation War against Pakistan, a special court in Bangladesh finally sentenced Ghulam Azam, the former chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Party, to 90 years in prison on Monday for masterminding atrocities.

While delivering the verdict, Judge A T M Fazle Kabir of the special War Crimes Tribunal compared the 90-year-old Azam with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and said: “Allegations of war crimes against him were proved beyond doubt. He should spend 90 years in prison or until his death.”

The special tribunal, investigating alleged crimes committed by a number of the Jamaat leaders during the Liberation War, also found Azam guilty of assisting the Pakistani forces’ in launching attacks on innocent civilians during the conflict. Around three million people lost their lives, 200,000 women were brutally raped and thousands of homes were torched during the nine-month War of Independence.

Meanwhile, the prosecution of the International Crimes Tribunal has expressed dissatisfaction over the judgement, saying that it failed to get death penalty for Azam, although all the charges against him have been proven. Soon after the special tribunal announced the verdict, Co-ordinator of the prosecution M K Rahman said:

“The five charges against him have been proven beyond doubt. He will remain in jail until he dies. We are not happy. The tribunal said he deserved maximum penalty. But he was sentenced to 90 years in prison because of his age and health condition. We will decide on an appeal once we get the full copy of the verdict. Only incomplete justice has been achieved after a 40-year-long wait.”

For his part, Prosecutor Zead-Al-Malum said: “The people of the country wanted maximum penalty for the leader of the razakars (Bangladeshi nationals who backed the Pakistani soldiers). The judge will have to agree that he did deserve it. We are united with the people’s sentiment and will appeal against the verdict.”

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