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Police in Bangladesh arrest 13 war crime suspects

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Police have arrested 13 people in northern Bangladesh for alleged involvement in crimes against humanity during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war with Pakistan.

The suspects were arrested in separate operations Saturday night and early Sunday in the northern district of Kurigram.

Local police chief Md. Mohibul Islam Khan told Anadolu Agency that security forces had nabbed the suspects after receiving arrest warrants from the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), a court formed to try alleged war criminals in the country’s independence struggle.

Without confirming the political affiliations of the 13 people, Khan said police would follow legal processes following the arrests.

So far, the local court has handed down verdicts in 39 cases against 97 people. Of these, 89 people have been convicted while 62 received capital punishment. Six suspects died during trials until 2019, according to local media site Bdnews24.com

The ICT is a domestic war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh set up in 2009 in order to investigate and prosecute suspects of war crimes in 1971 allegedly committed by the Pakistani military and local collaborators.

The court has been accused of being used against political opponents under the pretext of punishing war criminals.

Following the formation of the court, international human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch voiced deep concern over “unfair trial” processes.

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