Bangladesh hangs Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mohammad Qamaruzzaman

Mohammad Qamaruzzaman

Jamaat-e-Islami leader, Mohammed Qamaruzzaman, was hanged yesterday night for alleged war crimes committed during Bangladesh’s war of independence with Pakistan.

Mohammad Qamaruzzaman, an assistant secretary-general of Jamaat-e-Islami, refused to seek presidential clemency, as he became the second person put to death since tribunals were set up more than four years ago to try suspected war criminals.

Earlier on Saturday, authorities in Bangladesh heightened security in the capital and elsewhere ahead of the planned execution.

Qamaruzzaman’s family members visited him for the last time in Dhaka’s Central Jail, with security tight outside the facility, his lawyer Shishir Manir said.

By Saturday evening, the concerned officials to execute Qamaruzzaman had entered the jail, a senior prison official told The Associated Press news agency on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

TV stations reported that a grave had already been dug in Qamaruzzaman’s ancestral home outside Dhaka, the capital.

Appeal rejected

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On Monday, Bangladesh’s Supreme Court rejected Qamaruzzaman’s final legal appeal against the death sentence given to him by a special tribunal in May 2013. His only recourse would have been to seek a presidential pardon.

Bangladesh executed another Jamaat-e-Islami assistant secretary, Abdul Quader Mollah, in December 2013 for similar allegations.

Previous war crimes verdicts and Mollah’s execution have sparked violence.

Prosecutors say Qamaruzzaman headed an armed group that collaborated with the Pakistani army in central Bangladesh in 1971 and was behind the killings of at least 120 unarmed farmers.

Bangladesh blames Pakistani soldiers and local collaborators for the deaths of three million people during the nine-month war seeking independence from Pakistan.

An estimated 200,000 women were raped and about 10 million people were forced to take shelter in refugee camps in neighbouring India.

Since 2010, two tribunals have convicted more than a dozen people, mostly senior leaders of the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party, which had openly campaigned against independence.

Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party, says the trials are politically motivated.

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