Abul Kalam Azad

Bangladesh’s war crimes tribunal sentenced an Islamic televangelist to death on Monday, the first verdict by the controversial body set up to probe abuses during the country’s bloody struggle for independence.

Abul Kalam Azad, a former member of Bangladesh’s biggest Islamist party, was found guilty of torture, rape and genocide during the war for independence from Pakistan in 1971. Police believe he fled to Pakistan last April as he was tried in absentia.

The Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, set up the tribunal in 2010 to probe abuses during the conflict that claimed about three million lives and during which thousands of women were raped. Another 11 people are awaiting trial.

The tribunal has been criticised by rights groups for failing to adhere to standards of international law, while opposition parties say it is politically biased.

?The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in its verdict ordered for death penalty,?? Shahidur Rahman, a lawyer for the prosecution in a trial said.

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