Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Mir Quasem Ali, believed to be the key financer of Jamaat-e-Islami, has been hanged for crimes committed against humanity during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.
After over four years of trial, the 63-year-old Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami central leader was executed at Kashimpur Central Jail under Gazipur district at 10:30 pm (local time).
“Mir Quasem was hanged at 10:30 pm for his crimes against humanity,” Kasimpur Jail Super Prashanta Kumar Banik told reporters at the jail gate around 10:44 pm.
The body will be sent to his village home at Chala village in Harirampur upazila of Manikganj where he will be buried, according to Jail sources.
Earlier, Mir Quasem, the chief of Chittagong Al-Badr, an infamous auxiliary force of the Pakistan army during the 1971, was given the final bath followed by an imam administering him ‘tawba’ (seeking pardon to the Almighty), an Islamic ritual, in line with the practice ahead of hanging, they added.
Meanwhile, six platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) members were deployed in the capital Dhaka while four platoons in Gazipur to strengthen security before the execution.
Hours before the execution, his family members were allowed to meet him inside the central jail.
Thirty-eight family members of Mir Quasem coming in six vehicles reached the jail gate around 3.35pm (local time). They spent one hour and 23 minutes with him and got out of it around 6:08 pm, according to the jail sources.
Earlier in the afternoon Kashimpur prison officials received the “executive order” to hang Mir Quasem while Dhaka’s district magistrate and civil surgeon were served copies as procedures require their presence during the execution.
The countdown to Mir Quasem’s execution began after the Supreme Court turned down his review petition on Tuesday.
Jail authorities on Friday started the process to execute the Supreme Court verdict against the Jamaat leader after he decided not to seek presidential mercy.
Earlier on Friday, the Mir Quasem, who was kept at Condemned Cell-40, informed his decision not to seek presidential clemency to the prison authorities.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the death penalty for Mir Quasem for his war crimes, turning down his appeal to review the death penalty.
On November 2, 2014, International Crimes Tribunal-2 handed down the capital punishment to Mir Quasem over 1971 crimes against humanity. He was given death penalty on two charges, including killing seven people after abduction in Chittagong.
He was also awarded a total of 72-year imprisonment on eight other proven charges of abduction, conspiracy and planning.
As he challenged the verdict at the Supreme Court, it upheld his death sentence on one charge — the killing of young freedom fighter Jasim Uddin at Dalim Hotel — and jail terms on six other charges for his involvement in abduction, confinement and torture of freedom fighters and innocent people.
It, however, acquitted him of the other three charges, including a murder charge on which he was sentenced to death by the ICT-2.
On June 19 last, Mir Quasem submitted his petition seeking a review of his capital punishment.
Justice finally caught up with him with Mir Quasem’s execution, nearly forty-five years after he committed horrendous crimes against humanity.
This is the first time a war criminal has been executed at the Kashimpur jail and outside Dhaka.
Five war crimes convicts were executed earlier since Bangladesh initiated a delayed process to expose to justice the 1971 war criminals in 2010 and all of them were executed at the Dhaka Central Jail as at its previous location at Nazimuddin Road in old Dhaka.
Earlier on December 12 in 2013, 42 years into Bangladesh’s bloody War of Liberation, Abdul Quader Mollah, a key ally of the Pakistani occupation force, was hanged inside Dhaka Central Jail for his wartime offences.
On April 11 in 2015, Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mohammad Kamaruzzaman was hanged for his atrocities during the Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971.
On November 22 in2015, Bangladesh executed two war criminals – Jamaat secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed and BNP standing committee member Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.
On May 10 this calendar year, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami was hanged for his crimes against humanity during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.
According to documents, local collaborators and Pakistani occupation forces killed three million people, raped 200,000 women and displaced about 10 million to refugee camps in neighbouring India during the Liberation War in Bangladesh.