Just 90 minutes before he was to become the first person executed for war crimes committed in 1971, Abdul Quader Molla, a senior leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, received a stay of execution.
Supreme Court chamber judge Syed Mahmud Hossain halted the execution pending a hearing today, according to the court’s registrar. Molla, called the ‘Butcher of Mirpur’ by prosecutors, is convicted of rape, murder and mass murder, including the killing of over 350 unarmed Bengali civilians during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war.
Defence lawyer Shishir Munir said they were seeking a last-minute review of Molla’s execution order. Bangladeshi laws allow review of any death sentences in the Supreme Court, but prosecutors say there is no such provision in the special war crime laws. He and other Jamaat leaders opposed Dhaka’s independence from Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2013.