Bangladesh top court upholds death sentence for Jamaat chief

Supreme Court of Bangladesh announces upholding death penalty for leader of Bangladesh's Jamaat e Islami

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Motiur Rahman Nizami, the chief of Jamaat e Islami.

Bangladesh’s Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the death penalty for Motiur Rahman Nizami, the chief of Jamaat e Islami.

Nizami, 72, was accused of murder, rape, looting and collaboration with the Pakistani army during the war that led to Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971.

In 2014, a special court had found Nizami guilty on eight of 16 counts and convicted him of allegedly helping Pakistani forces kill around 450 people and rape around 40 women in four villages in Pabna.

During the war in 1971, Nizami was heading the then student wing of Jamaat e Islami – Islami Chatra Sangha.

Nizami will have a chance to file a review petition within 15 days from the publication of the full verdict.

Other figures of Jamaat e Islami found guilty by the tribunal include Abdul Quader Mollah, who was executed in December 2013, Muhammad Kamaruzzaman who was hanged in November 2014 and secretary general Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid who was executed in November 2015.

The war crimes tribunal was established in 2009 by the ruling Awami League party to investigate alleged crimes committed during the 1971 war.

Opposition parties and international organisations have criticised the process, with Human Rights Watch expressing concerns over whether the accused received fair trials.