Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)-The Supreme Court of Bangladesh on Tuesdays upheld the death penalty of condemned war criminal Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali rejecting his plea for reviewing the capital punishment for his crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War in 1971.
Mir Quasem, 63, was one of the key organisers of the infamous Al-Badr force– an auxiliary force of Pakistan army – in Chittagong, the second-largest city of Bangladesh.
A five judge bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha delivered the verdict amid tight security in and around the court premises.
Ali’s command Bangladeshi supporters of Pakistan’s army “let loose a reign of terror” in Chittagong, in 1971.
It also partially proved a further two of the charges brought against the media tycoon.
There are different estimates for the number of people killed in the nine-month Bangladeshi war of secession.
Government figures suggest as many as three million people died, while some say that figure is too high and unverifiable.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina set up the war crimes tribunal in 2010 to look into abuses during the independence war.
But critics of the controversial court say the government is using the tribunal to target political opponents.
Human Rights Watch has previously said the court’s procedures are not up to international standards.
The Awami League, which leads the current government, says it is necessary to help the country come to terms with its past.
Civil war erupts in Pakistan, pitting the West Pakistan army against East Pakistanis demanding autonomy and later independence
Fighting forces an estimated 10 million East Pakistani civilians to flee to India
In December, India invades East Pakistan in support of the East Pakistani people
Pakistani army surrenders at Dhaka and its army of more than 90,000 become Indian prisoners of war
East Pakistan becomes the independent country of Bangladesh on 16 December 1971
Exact number of people killed is unclear – Bangladesh says it is three million but independent researchers say it is up to 500,000 fatalities