Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bangladesh Upholds Death Sentence for Senior Islamist Party Leader

Muhammad Kamaruzzaman
The Bangladesh Supreme Court on Monday in Dhaka confirmed the death sentence against Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, a senior figure in Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party.

The court officials said he was sentenced to death for crimes committed during the country’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

A four-member panel of appeal judges delivered the judgement against Kamaruzzaman, 62, an Assistant Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party.

The panel was upholding a verdict by a special war crimes tribunal that sentenced him to death in May 2013.

The Prosecution Lawyer, Tureen Afroz, said government had to execute the verdict immediately after the certified copy of the verdict was made available.

He said Kamaruzzaman was one of the key organisers of the wartime vigilante Al-Badr Force, and was sentenced to death for his involvement in crimes that included mass killings, abductions, torture, rape, persecution and complicity in torture during the nine-month war.

Defence Counsel Tazul Islam said however that Kamaruzzaman had the right to file a review petition.

“We have to accept the court verdict, but no judgement should be executed without exhausting the defendant’s constitutional rights, “he said.

Several hundred youths gathered outside the court to demand the immediate execution of Kamaruzzaman.

A government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said most of the top leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, which opposed the creation of Bangladesh are facing trial.

He said 12 out of 18 people indicted for war crimes had been convicted.

He said, on Sunday, an executive member of Jamaat-e-Islami, Mir Quasem Ali, was handed a death sentence for killings, abductions, torture and other crimes against humanity.

He also noted that on Wednesday, the war crimes tribunal also handed a death sentence to Matiur Rahman Nizami, Head of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, leading to a nationwide strike.

Meanwhile, the party said the trials were politically motivated.

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