Bangladesh upholds death penalty for Jamaat leader for 1971 war crimes

Published: March 8, 2016
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

DHAKA: Bangladesh Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the death penalty for one of the top leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, Mir Quasem Ali, for war crimes during the 1971 independence war with Pakistan, which included killing and torturing freedom fighters.

A war crimes tribunal set up in 2010 has sparked violence and drawn criticism from opposition politicians, including leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, that it is victimising Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s political opponents.

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Four opposition politicians, including three leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami, have been convicted by the tribunal and executed since late 2013.

Mir Quasem, 63, is a member of central executive committee of the Jamaat, the largest Islamist party in Bangladesh, and is one of its most powerful leaders as he is believed to be the chief financier of the party.

He is also a leading businessman in Bangladesh, running firms ranging from print and electronic media to hospitals.

About 3 million people were killed, according to official figures, and thousands of women raped, during the independence war in which some factions, including the Jamaat-e-Islami, opposed the breakaway from what was then called West Pakistan.

The party denies that its leaders committed any atrocities.

Mir Quasem went into hiding after Pakistan occupation forces and their local collaborators surrendered on December 16, 1971, and re-appeared years later as a Jamaat-e-Islami leader.

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He was arrested on June 17, 2012 and convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death on November 2, 2014. His appeal against the death sentence was rejected on Tuesday, chief state lawyer Mahbubey Alam told reporters, immediately after the verdict.

Khandker Mahbub Hossain, the principal lawyer of the defendant, told reporters that after receiving a copy of the full verdict he will consult Quasem and his family.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Aakashvaani
    Mar 8, 2016 - 12:39PM

    Justice at last. Pakistan should also prosecute the perpetrators of 1971 war crimes. Although India has handed thorough humiliation by forcing surrender but criminals must be brought to justice. Recommend

  • Hari Om
    Mar 8, 2016 - 12:40PM

    Kudo’s to Bangladesh for going after the collaborators who aided and abetted the Genocide orchestrated by the Punjabi Dominated Military of Pakistan in what was in 1971 East Pakistan India must provide full diplomatic and moral support to Bangladesh, just as they did during the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, from the self-serving Pakistani carping that will now ensue.Recommend

  • Hameed
    Mar 8, 2016 - 12:40PM

    He is also a leading businessman in Bangladesh, running firms ranging from print and electronic media to hospitals.

    His property should also be confiscated.Recommend

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