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Bangladesh Tycoon to be Executed for War Crimes

by VOA News November 02, 2014

A special tribunal in Bangladesh has handed down the death sentence to a senior leader of the country's largest Islamist party for war crimes more than 40 years ago.

The war crimes court in Dhaka found Mir Quasem Ali guilty Sunday for crimes committed during the nation's independence war against Pakistan in 1971, when he was commander of the Al Badr militia forces.

The 62-year-old media tycoon is thought to be one of the top financiers of the Jamaat-e-Islami party.

He was found guilty on eight charges, including the abduction of a young man and his killing in a torture cell.

Ali's defense lawyer, Tanvir Ahmed Al-Amin, described the charges as 'baseless and false' and vowed to appeal the verdict in the Supreme Court.

Bangladesh says local collaborators and Pakistani soldiers killed 3 million people, raped 200,000 women and displaced about 10 million to refugee camps in neighboring India during the country's independence struggle. Jamaat-e-Islami opposed independence.

Last week, the same court sentenced to death the party's leader, Motiur Rahman Nizami, for war crimes.

The government opened the inquiry against nine senior opposition leaders. Seven are Islamists from Jamaat-e-Islami. Two are from the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Both parties denounce the trials as politically motivated attempts to target the opposition.

The government says the trials will heal the wounds of the 1971 war. Human rights groups say the war crimes tribunal does not meet international standards.

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