Jamaat-e-Islami secretary-general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed has been awarded the death penalty International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh for crimes against humanity during the country’s liberation war in 1971.
As the head of the Jamaat’s students wing, Islami Chatra Sangha (now Islami Chatra Shibir), Mojaheed (65) led the ruthless Al-Badr militia that killed civilian intellectuals, including a top journalist, 42 years ago.
Pronouncing the judgment on Wednesday, the three-member Tribunal-2, headed by justice Obaidul Hassan, said five out of seven charges against Mojaheed had been proved beyond doubt. He received the death penalty for three charges, and life sentence and five-year imprisonment for two others.
The judgement against Mojaheed, who was a Minister in the Khaleda Zia government, was endorsed by the government and freedom fighters, while the Jamaat enforced day-long hartal marked by violence.
The verdict came two days after the ICT-1 handed down a 90-year jail term to former Jamaat chief Ghulam Azam, who spearheaded the anti-Bangladesh movement. But the jail term has been termed soft by many who demanded that the prosecution appeal it.
According to the court, in October 1971 Mojaheed was elected the East Pakistan president of the Islami Chhatra Sangha and became chief of Al-Badr, an auxiliary force of the Pakistan army that was responsible for brutal killings of intellectuals at the fag-end of the nine-month-long war.
The first charge brought by the prosecution said Mojaheed was involved in the abduction of Sirajuddin Hossain, the Executive Editor of the popular Bengali daily Ittefaq, as he had written an article against the local agents of Pakistani Army. On December 10, 1971, several armed masked youths abducted the journalist from his house in Dhaka. His body was never found.