Bangladesh upholds Jamaat-e-Islami leader’s death sentence

Bangladesh Supreme Court upholds Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali’s death sentence for war crimes during liberation war

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

This file photo taken on November 2, 2014 shows Bangladeshi Jamaat-e-Islami party leader, Mir Quasem Ali waving his hand as he enters a van at the International Crimes Tribunal court in Dhaka.

Bangladesh Supreme Court upheld the Jamaat-e-Islami leader and businessman Mir Quasem Ali’s death penalty for war crimes during the 1971 Liberation War from Pakistan.

Ali was arrested on June 2012 on 14 war crime charges, including running a militia torture cell, and was sentenced to death on November 2014. Chief Justice S.K. Sinha announced on Tuesday’s supreme court that his appeal is rejected.

Four opposition politicians, including three leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami, have been convicted and executed since late 2013.

Ali is a member of the Jamaat’s central executive committee and one of its most powerful leaders.

He helped set up a number of charities, businesses and trusts linked to the party after it was allowed to operate in the late 1970s.

The tycoon headed the Diganta Media Corporation that owns a daily and a television station. The government shut down the television station in 2013 for inflaming religious tensions.

He faces execution within months unless his case is reviewed by the same court or he is granted clemency by the Bangladeshi president.

Jamaat and the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party have accused the government of using the war crimes court to target their leaders through false charges.

Rights groups have also criticised the trials, saying they don't meet international standards and lack foreign oversight.

Defence lawyers have said that the charges against Ali were “baseless and false” and that he was not at the crime scenes during the war.

A Bangladeshi man cries after his vehicle was set on fire by Jamaat-e-Islami activists following the execution of their party leader Abdul Quader Mollah in Dhaka, Bangladesh, December 13, 2013.

The executions and previous convictions against other Jamaat officials plunged the country into one of its worst crises in 2013, which left some 500 dead in clashes between protesters and police.

About 3 million people were killed and thousands of women raped according to official figures, during the 1971 independence war from what was then called West Pakistan.

The Jamaat-e-Islami were among those who opposed the breakaway.

The party denies that its leaders committed any atrocities.

TRTWorld and agencies