A special war crimes tribunal yesterday sentenced a former lawmaker to life imprisonment for crimes committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of liberation with Pakistan, court officials said.
The court handed down the sentence against Abdul Jabbar, a former lawmaker of the opposition Jatiyo Party, for his involvement in crimes against humanity.
He was convicted of mass killing, torture, torching of several hundred homes and forcible religious conversion of Hindus to Islam during the nine-month war, prosecution lawyer Zahid Imam said.
The judge said he sentenced the 82-year-old to life in jail rather than death because of his age.
Jabbar has been a fugitive since the investigators framed war crimes charges against him in May 2014.
The tribunal examined 24 prosecution witnesses while there was no defence witness because the accused was tried in his absence.
Investigators said Jabbar was the head of peace committee, a wartime vigilante group that aided the Pakistani military in committing atrocities on unarmed civilians in Pirojepur district.
State-appointed defence counsel Mohammad Abul Hasan expressed frustration over the decision, saying his client should have been given more opportunity to defend himself.
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