Dhaka – A senior leader of Jamaat-e-Islami party, which opposed creation of Bangladesh, was hanged on Saturday for crimes he committed during the country’s war of liberation against Pakistan, officials said.
The execution of Mir Quasem Ali, a top leader of the party who led a wartime vigilante group for atrocity on unarmed civilians, was carried out after 10 pm at Kashimpur High-security prisons hours after the government issued an order in line with Supreme Court that he would be hanged for crimes against humanity, an officer at the jail said.
Earlier, a 45-member team of Quasem’s family met the convict at the jail as the prisons authorities allowed them to be there by 3.30 pm. Senior jail officials, officers from the law ministry, civil surgeon and members of the other related departments were present during the execution.
Bangladesh’s highest court on Tuesday rejected a final appeal by Quasem against the death sentence he had been handed for crimes committed during the nine-month war.
A five-member panel of Supreme Court judges, headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, upheld the death sentence for Mir Quasem Ali, 64, who received the death sentence for crimes including the abduction, killing and dumping bodies of several people in a river in southeastern Chittagong district.
He was also convicted of several other crimes against humanity that took place during the 1971 conflict.
He was sentenced to death in November 2014 by a special war crimes tribunal, styled International Crimes Tribunal, for crimes against humanity committed during the war.
An appeals court had earlier upheld his death penalty before Ali launched an appeal against that decision. He did not exhaust the last legal provision to seek presidential mercy.
Ali, who is also a business tycoon in Bangladesh, was one of the founders of the al-Badr force commissioned by the Pakistani military to carry out attacks on civilians during the war. Ali owned businesses including, bank, hospital, television, pharmaceutical industry, television channel and newspaper. He was also member of a number of trusts founded by oil-rich Middle Eastern countries.
The government deployed additional security forces, including members of the paramilitary border guards, to maintain order across Bangladesh as activists of his party previously went on rampage after announcement of verdicts in war crimes cases.
Most top leaders of the party faced war crimes charges as the party opposed creation of Bangladesh in 1971.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina established the special war crimes tribunal in 2010 to prosecute local agents of the Pakistani army who were responsible for atrocities against unarmed civilians.
Bangladesh estimates nearly 3 million people died and approximately 200,000 women were raped during the war.
An earlier initiative to prosecute the war crimes was called off after the assassination of Bangladesh’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was Sheikh Hasina’s father, in 1975.
Motiur Rahman Nizami, chief of Jamaat-e-Islami party, Ali Ahsan Mumannad Mujahid, Kamaruzzaman, Abdul Kader Mollah of the same party and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury have already been executed for war crimes.