Dhaka hangs Islamist leader for rape, genocide

Wednesday 18th May 2016 06:20 EDT

DHAKA: Bangladesh has hanged Islamist party leader, Motiur Rahman Nizami, for genocide and other crimes committed during a 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. Nizami who was head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was executed at the Dhaka Central jail just after midnight after the Supreme Court rejected his final plea against a death sentence imposed by a special tribunal for genocide, rape, and orchestrating the massacre of intellectuals during the war.

Five opposition politicians, including four Jamaat leaders, have been executed since late 2013 after being convicted by the war crimes tribunal set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010. International human rights groups say the trials are supported by many Bangladeshis, the proof of which was given by hundreds of people who flooded Dhaka to cheer the execution. War veteran Akram Hossain said, "We have waited for this day for as long as 45 years. Justice has finally been served." Three hundred supporters gathered at Dhaka's main mosque to offer prayers in his memory as Nizami was buried in his ancestral home. Supporters of Nizami said charges against the leader were baseless and called for a nationwide strike. Jamaat group said their dead leader was a victim of political vendetta.

The US State Department said that while it supported justice being carried out, it was vital that trials were free, fair and transparent, and conducted in accordance with international agreements. "We still believe that further improvements to the process could ensure these proceedings meet domestic and international obligations," State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau said in a statement. "Until these obligations can be consistently met, we have concerns about proceeding with executions."

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