Bangladesh announces death sentence for another JI leader

Supreme Court of Bangladesh confirms death sentence for Jamaat-e-Islami’s leader Motiur Rahman Nizami over war crimes.

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Bangladeshi Jamaat-e-Islami leader Motiur Rahman Nizami sits inside a van as he is taken to a prison after being sentenced at the International Crimes Tribunal court in Dhaka

Supreme Court of Bangladesh on Thursday upheld the death sentence for yet another leader from the Jamaat-e-Islami Party, Motiur Rahman Nizami, over charges of war crimes.

Prosecutors said he was responsible for setting up the al Badr pro-Pakistani militia, which killed top writers, doctors and journalists in the most gruesome chapter of the 1971 conflict.

Their bodies were found blindfolded with their hands tied and dumped in a marsh on the outskirts of the capital.

Prosecutors also added that Nizami ordered the killings, designed to "intellectually cripple" the fledgling nation.

Nizami, 73, is set to be hung any day now, as he made it clear that he "would not seek clemency" from the president.

Clemency has never been granted to a convicted war criminal in Bangladesh.

Similar to other leaders from the party, who were also sentenced to death through the same controversial  trial process, Nizami is also convicted of murder and rape.

Following the top court’s verdict, security has been stepped up in Dhaka, the country’s capital city.

In 2013, the convictions of Jamaat-e-Islami leaders triggered the deadly violence in the country that had not been seen in decades, with around 500 people killed, mainly in clashes between protesters and police.

In October 2014, he was convicted by the International Crimes Tribunal, which was established in 2010 by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government, and had sentenced more than a dozen opposition leaders for war crimes.

Rights groups have declared that the trial fails to meet global standards and lacks international oversight.

Pakistan has already expressed its concern over the trial and its foreign office believes that this issue was settled through a trilateral agreement back in 1972 between Islamabad, New Delhi and Dhaka.

"We're satisfied. Now there is no bar to execute him unless he seeks clemency from the president and the president pardons him," Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said after the Supreme Court dismissed Nizami's final appeal.

Nizami took over as leader of Jamaat-e-Islami in 2000 and was a minister in the Islamist-allied government of 2001-2006.

TRTWorld and agencies