Bangladesh approves death sentence for Islamic leader

Top leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami Party to be executed following affirmation of sentence by Bangladesh Supreme Court

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Bangladesh’s Supreme court affirmed the death sentence given to the leader of Jamaat-e-Islami for committing war crimes during the country’s Liberation War in 1971.

The Jamaat-e-Islami Party's Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed appealed to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court to cancel the 2013 verdict, sentencing him to death.

But the country's Chief Justice S.K. Sinha, who leads the four membered court, dismissed Mojaheed’s request to revise the death penalty.

Bangladesh’s High Court convicted him on five charges including, murder, abduction and torture in 2013 and also upheld the death sentence for him, after which he then applied the Supreme Court.

Following the court’s decision, 500 people were killed in clashes between police and Jamaat activists. For this reason security was tight ahead o around the court in Dhaka ahead of Tuesday’s ruling, with security forces was patrolling the surroundings.

The war crimes tribunal not only ruled on Mojaheed’s case but also a dozen cases concerning top leaders from Jamaat-e-Islami, a strong opponent of Bangladesh’s government.

"The death penalty handed down to him has been upheld," Prosecutor Soumya Reza told AFP.

65-year-old Mohammad Mojaheed will be hanged unless the same court agrees to review the case or he receives presidential clemency.

"Souls of the war martyrs can finally now rest in peace after today's verdict," another prosecutor Mokhlesur Rahman Badal said.

Mojaheed was found guilty for his role in atrocities committed in 1971 in previous verdicts. It was also said that he was involved in systematic persecution against Hindus and was behind the killing of Bangladeshi intellectuals, teachers and journalists while leading Al Badr, a notorious pro-Pakistani militia active during the nine-month war.  

Between 2001 to 2006 Mojaheed worked with former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who had left the country after Bangladesh won independence after independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was killed in a military coup in 1975.

Jamaat-e-Islami has claimed that government is trying to eliminate Islamist political opponents from Bangladeshi politics through using trials.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has denied the allegations and defended the court decisions, saying they are ensuring justice.

Jamaat-e-Islami has been losing supporters since its top leaders were convicted by the courts. Two senior previous leaders of the party have already been executed for war crimes.

TRTWorld and agencies