More than 40 years after Bangladesh’s war of independence, in which as many as 3 million people died, a special tribunal in the country has convicted its first war criminal. Abul Kalam Azad was sentenced to death in his absence for genocide and murder.
Azad is described as a former leader of the youth wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh’s biggest Islamic party. Its youth wing was the main source of paramilitary recruits for those supporting West Pakistan’s efforts to stop East Pakistan, as Bangladesh then was, seceding.
Its members are alleged to have abducted and murdered dozens of civilians. Azad himself is accused of killing at least 12 people and of rape. He fled the country last year, and is believed to be in Pakistan.
Critics, though, allege irregularities in the judicial process, and complain that it has been subverted in order to damage opponents of the government.