Bangladesh set to execute Jamaat leader for 1971 war crimes
A top Jamaat-e-Islami leader convicted of genocide during Bangladesh`s liberation war of 1971 is set be executed with the Supreme Court on Thursday upholding his death sentence, two days after his hanging was dramatically put on hold in a last-minute reprieve.
Dhaka: A top Jamaat-e-Islami leader convicted of genocide during Bangladesh`s liberation war of 1971 is set be executed with the Supreme Court on Thursday upholding his death sentence, two days after his hanging was dramatically put on hold in a last-minute reprieve.
Today`s verdict removed the last barrier for the execution of 65-year-old Abdul Quader Mollah, who is being held at the high security Dhaka Central Jail.
For his atrocities and for siding with Pakistani troops during the 1971 war, Mollah was dubbed the "Butcher of Mirpur", after a Dhaka suburb where he led the infamous Al-Badr militia in slaughtering a large number of people, including women and children.
A death warrant was issued for Mollah on Tuesday but the apex court put off the execution hours before he was to be hanged so that his petition challenging the death sentence could be heard.
The apex court earlier today rejected Mollah`s petition. "(The review petition is) not maintainable," Chief Justice Muzammel Hossain told a packed courtroom after two days of arguments on the maintainability of the plea.
Inspector General of Prisons Mainuddin Khandkar told: "We will resume the execution process from where we left it on Tuesday once we get a decision from the government."
But Mollah`s execution appeared imminent as his family met him for the second time since Tuesday inside the jail. Witnesses said Mollah`s two sons, four daughters and wife entered the jail at 6:25 pm and came out half an hour later.
Paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and police enforced a tight vigil, mobilising riot cars and armoured personnel carriers around the prison in Old Dhaka.
Mollah, the assistant secretary-general of the Jamaat and the fourth-highest leader of the party, was the first politician to be found guilty of war crimes by the Supreme Court after it rejected an appeal to acquit him.
Jail officials earlier in the day said Mollah refused to seek presidential clemency under a constitutional provision when they asked him whether he wants to request the president to pardon him, media reports said.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told reporters, "The government has fulfilled its obligation by sending executive magistrate twice to ask him if he seeks presidential mercy."
If executed, Mollah would be the first war crimes convict to be sent to the gallows since the country`s independence in 1971. The Awami League-led government began conducting the war crimes trials in keeping with a pledge made during the 2008 election.