Bangladesh executes two former members of parliament

Bangladesh executes two former members of parliament charged with war crimes by controversial domestic tribunal set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Bangladesh's Attorney General Mahbubey Alam (C) leaves the Supreme Court in Dhaka after the court's verdict on appeals by two opposition leaders

Updated Nov 22, 2015

Bangladesh on Sunday executed two former members of parliament convicted of war crimes committed during the 1971 war to break away from Pakistan, a senior police official said. 

The two opposition leaders Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury were executed after President Abdul Hamid rejected their appeals for mercy.

Mujahid and Chowdhury previously appealed against their death sentence however rejected by the Supreme Court despite serious fair trial concerns surrounding convictions.

Mujahid, 67, was a member of Jamaat-e-Islami party and convicted of five different crimes including torture, murder. He was a commander of an auxiliary force of the Pakistani army Al badr, during the war to break away from Pakistan.

Chowdhury, 66, was a former legislator from former premier Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was found guilty of genocide, religious persecution abduction and torture charges.

Both leaders were hanged at Dhaka Central Jail.

“Both of them were hanged simultaneously on two separate platforms," the police official said.

Security measures were taken with deployment of the Border Guard Bangladesh paramilitary force across the country.

The sentence was imposed by a domestic war crimes tribunal set up by the government of the current Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, in 2010.

The three-judge panel has received harsh criticism by the UN, US State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice and human rights organisations because it fails to conform to “international standards.”

Human rights Watch Asia director Brad Adams said “Justice and accountability for the terrible crimes committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence are crucial, but trials need to meet international fair trial standards.”

“Unfair trials can’t provide real justice, especially when the death penalty is imposed.”

Humam Quader Chowdhury, son of Chowdhury, told Reuters that "While we are saddened that we have lost our father by way of a motivated and predetermined trial and where the country is gagged from speaking out, we find hope in the fact that the international community recognises the injustice and that fairness and truth shall be restored in Bangladesh,"

Jamaat-e-Islami claims that the government is trying to eliminate political opponents from Bangladeshi politics through using Hasina’s tribunals.

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

Two other Jamaat leaders were executed in 2013.

TRTWorld and agencies