Bangladesh war crimes convict declined to seek presidential clemency

Abdul Quader Mollah, a key ally of Pakistan occupation forces in 1971, who was convicted by a war crimes tribunal for genocide and mass rape during the nation’s liberation war, was on Thursday executed in Dhaka.

The execution took place at 10:01 hours on Thursday night at the Dhaka Central Jail, where the assistant secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami, which had violently opposed the independence from Pakistan 42 year ago, was lodged. Mollah was the first war criminal to face death sentence. The execution took place hours after the Supreme Court dismissed his petition to review his death sentence.

The hanging took place only three days before Bangladesh celebrates her 42nd Victory Day, commemorating the historic defeat of the 93,000 Pakistani troops by the Bangladesh-India Joint Command in Dhaka on December 16,1971.

Landmark process

The Awami League-led government initiated the landmark process of trying those who had opposed Bangladesh’s birth in a brutal manner.

The two war crimes tribunals have so far convicted 10 Islamist leaders sentencing them either to life imprisonments or death.

The 65-year-old Quader Mollah declined to seek presidential clemency though the authorities approached him thrice.

Mollah was first given life imprisonment on two out of six charges and different jail terms on the other three proved charges. The government later appealed to the Supreme Court against the life-term ruling, claiming it “inadequate” and seeking the death penalty for his wartime crimes. On September 17, a five-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Mohammad Muzammel Hossain revised the verdict, sentencing him to death. The execution was halted by a chamber judge, barely two hours before it was to be carried out one minute past midnight on Tuesday.

Violence

The apex court also had put on hold the execution until it decided the fate of the review petition filed by Mollah.

Meanwhile, during the last day of the opposition-sponsored blockade on Thursday, four people were shot dead and 25 injured as the law enforcers opened fire on clashing opposition men in Laxmipur.