New Bangladesh law allows death penalty

Feb. 17, 2013 at 5:36 PM

DHAKA, Bangladesh, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Thousands of Bangladeshi protesters cheered Sunday on learning Parliament passed a law allowing the death penalty for an Islamist party leader, officials said.

The life sentence given to Abdul Jade Mullah, the head of the Jamaal-e-Islam party accused of crimes against humanity in the 1971 war in which Bangladesh won its independence from Pakistan, set off angry protests for almost two weeks in Dhaka and other cities, the BBC reported Sunday.

The new law means the government and others can now appeal against International Crimes Tribunal verdicts, the BBC reported.

The tribunal was established in 2010 to try Bangladeshis accused of collusion with Pakistani forces and committing war atrocities.

Further, the amendment will give the tribunal powers to prosecute any political parties or organizations reputedly involved in war crimes, and ban such parties from politics, law minister Shafique Ahmed said.

The tribunal is not up to international standards, human rights groups have said.

The current government is using the tribunal to pursue a political vendetta, Jamaal said.

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