Bangladesh court issues death warrant for `Butcher of Mirpur`

Bangladesh ordered execution of senior leader of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, who was sentenced to death 3 months ago for genocide during the 1971 liberation war, raising fears of fresh violence.

PTI| Updated: Dec 08, 2013, 22:14 PM IST

Dhaka: A special tribunal in Bangladesh on Sunday ordered the execution of a senior leader of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, who was sentenced to death three months ago for genocide during the 1971 liberation war, raising fears of fresh violence.
"The `warrant of execution` has been sent to Dhaka Central Jail, Home Ministry, Law Ministry and Dhaka district magistrate along with copies of Supreme Court verdict for the execution of Abdul Quader Mollah," International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) registrar AKM Nasir Uddin told reporters.

A top official of Dhaka Central Jail acknowledged receipt of the death warrant, wrapped in traditional red cloth. The official told that "steps are being initiated in line with the law to comply with the order".

The announcement is likely to spark fresh violence at a time when the country is witnessing widespread clashes over the upcoming general elections.

The Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice M Muzammel Hossain on Thursday issued the full text of the verdict given in September to award the death penalty to 65-year-old Mollah, an assistant secretary general of Jamaat, overruling his life imprisonment given by the ICT.

Mollah, the fourth senior most Jamaat leader, is the first politician to be found guilty by the apex court.

Prison officials did not elaborate further but under the Jail Code the prison authorities must immediately inform the death row convict about the apex court judgement and must execute the order in between 21 and 28 days of receipt of the verdict unless he obtained presidential clemency.

The prosecution lawyers on Thursday said after the final verdict Mollah could now only seek presidential clemency within next seven days but the defence counsels said they would seek a revision of the judgement by the apex court itself under the law.

The officials declined to comment if the jail code would be followed in Mollah`s case as the ICT Act under which he was tried said, "The sentence awarded under this Act shall be carried out in accordance with the orders of the government".

Meanwhile, the prison authorities shifted Mollah from suburban Kashimpur Central Jail to Dhaka Central Jail.

Mollah was arrested on July 13, 2010, while the tribunal indicted him on May 28, 2012 on six specific charges for actively participating, facilitating, aiding and substantially contributing to the attacks on unarmed civilians, "causing commission of the horrific genocides, murders and rapes".

Prosecutors described him as the "Butcher of Mirpur", a Dhaka suburb where he committed most of the atrocities.

This is the first such case which came for the apex court review while two war crimes tribunals are trying the high profile accused of "crimes against humanity" during the 1971 Liberation War, mostly belonging to Jamaat, which was opposed to the country`s 1971 independence.

Bangladesh witnessed the launch of the war crimes trial in 2010 in line with ruling Awami League`s election pledges and so far two International Crimes Tribunals indicted over a dozen people, mostly Jamaat leaders.

The two tribunals have already handed down death penalty to four and long term or life imprisonments to two others.

Officially three million people were killed in the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan during which Jamaat allegedly masterminded the murders of the country`s leading intelligentsia including professors, doctors and journalists.