NEW DELHI: A special tribunal dealing with war crimes committed during Bangladesh’s independence war against Pakistan in 1971 has sentenced a former lawmaker to death and seven others to life in prison for murder and other crimes.
The tribunal sentenced Sakhawat Hossain, a former parliament member belonging to the Jamaat-i-Islami party (JI), to death on Wednesday.
He and one of the other defendants were present in the court. The six others were tried in absentia.
Hossain was a central committee member of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the student wing of JI at the time, and was accused of acting as a local commander of a group that aided Pakistani soldiers.
In May, Bangladesh executed Motiur Rahman Nizami, leader of the JI, just days after the nation’s highest court dismissed his final appeal to overturn the death sentence for atrocities committed during the 1971 war.
He was convicted in October 2014 by the International Crimes Tribunal, which was established in 2010 by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government and has sentenced more than a dozen opposition leaders for war crimes.
Rights groups say the trials fall short of global standards and lack international oversight.
In 2013 the convictions of Jamaat officials for war crimes triggered the country’s deadliest violence in decades. Around 500 people were killed, mainly in clashes between protesters and police, and thousands were arrested.