Bangladesh to execute top Islamist leader for war crimes

Wednesday 13th January 2016 05:11 EST

DHAKA: Bangladesh Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence on Motiur Rahman Nizami, leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party. Prosecutor Tureen Afroz said, “The court upheld the death sentence in three out of four charges. We're very happy. Most importantly, the death penalty was upheld for the killings of the intellectuals.”

Nizami, 72, Jamaats' leader since 2000 and a minister in a former Islamist-allied government of 201-06, will be hanged within months unless his case is reviewed by the same court or he is granted clemency by the president. Three senior Jamaat officials and a key leader of the main opposition party have been executed since December 2013 for war crimes, despite global criticism of their trials by a controversial war crimes tribunal. Hundreds of people who had campaigned for the Islamist leaders to be tried for their roles in the 1971 war, celebrated at a square in central Dhaka. Head of a secular group, Imran Sarker said, “This verdict brings an end to the long and painful wait for justice for the families of the victims. We now want his quick execution.”

Prosecutors said Nizami was the leader of a student wing of Jamaat during the war and turned it into the Al Badr pro-Pakistani militia which killed top professors, writers, doctors and journalists in the most gruesome chapter of the conflict. Their bodies were found blindfolded with their hands tied and dumped in a marsh on the outskirts of the capital. The killing was carried out based on a hit list Nizami ordered and the idea was to “intellectually cripple” the fledgling nation, prosecutors said. Security was tight across the country. Previous convictions of the Jamaat officials triggered the country's deadliest violence since independence with some 500 people killed, mainly in clashes between Islamists and police.

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