Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bangladesh executes Islamist leader for crimes against humanity during 1971 independence war

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh hanged Islamist opposition leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman on Saturday for war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan, a move met with an angry reaction from his supporters who called for a protest strike.

Kamaruzzaman, 63, of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was hanged at Dhaka Central Jail after the Supreme Court rejected his appeal against a death sentence imposed by a special tribunal for genocide and torture of civilians during the war.

He refused to beg for a pardon from the president. The head of the jail confirmed that the execution took place at 10:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. EDT).


Senior Jamaat-e-Islami official Abdul Quader Molla was hanged for war crimes in December 2013 after the Supreme Court overturned a life sentence imposed by the tribunal.

Eight others have been sentenced to death for their actions in the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

More than 200 people were killed in protests against the cases in 2013, including Islamist party activists and members of the security forces.

The territory of East Pakistan broke away to become independent Bangladesh in 1971 after a war between Bangladeshi nationalists, backed by India, and Pakistani forces. About three million people were killed in the conflict.

Some factions in Bangladesh, including Jamaat-e-Islami, opposed the break with Pakistan. The party denies accusations that its leaders committed murder, rape and torture.