Bangladesh approves law to swiftly execute war criminals
DHAKA (AFP) - Bangladesh's Cabinet approved on Monday changes to war crime laws to ensure opposition leaders on trial for alleged atrocities during the nation's 1971 independence war can be swiftly executed if convicted.
The move came amid huge demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of people in Dhaka for the past seven days calling for quick executions of the 10 alleged war criminals currently being tried on such charges as genocide and rape. Two others have already been convicted.
The demonstrations began after the war crimes tribunal last week handed a life sentence to a leader of the largest Islamic party - a term critics condemned as too lenient. The demonstrators include students, bloggers, academics and journalists.
Cabinet secretary Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said the Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, approved the changes, allowing the state and victims to contest the life term for Abdul Quader Molla of the Jamaat-e-Islami party.