DHAKA – A special Bangladesh tribunal on Thursday sentenced another politician to death for his alleged role in killing people and other crimes during the 1971 independence war against Pakistan.
M A Zahid Hossain Khokon, of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, is a fugitive and believed to be in Sweden with his son and daughter. He was convicted of leading the killings of people, looting and arson attacks during the war. Head Judge of a three-member panel A T M Fazle Rabbi told a packed court that the tribunal had found Kohkon guilty of 10 of the 11 charges he faced.
Thursday’s verdict was the 12th in which 13 people have been convicted after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina set up the special tribunal to try war crimes suspects. Most of the charges have been against leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami. Hasina has called the trials a long-overdue effort to obtain justice four decades after Bangladesh split from Pakistan. Critics say that she is using the tribunals to weaken the Bangladesh’s opposition parties.
Khokon’s lawyers say that he was deprived of justice, but according to the law, he cannot appeal the verdicts to the Bangladesh’s Supreme Court unless he first surrenders.