Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)-Bangladesh Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected appeals of two condemned war criminals to review the apex court’s previous ruling upholding the death penalty to them for their crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War in 1971.
The condemned war criminals are: Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed and BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.
A four-member Appellate Division bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha delivered the verdict amid tight security in and around the court premises.
ALI AHSAN MOHAMMAD MUJAHEED:
Earlier on June 16 this year, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh upheld the death penalty of condemned war criminal Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed, rejecting his plea for reviewing the capital punishment for his crimes against humanity.
Mujaheed, 67, had led a “death squad” named Al-Badr that worked as an auxiliary force for the Pakistani army during the Liberation War of the country.
The Jamaat assistant secretary general had led the systematic killing of intellectuals at the fag end of the 1971 war.
On July 17, 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 sentenced Mujaheed to death for unleashing his ruthless Al-Badr militias on unarmed intellectuals including a top journalist to snuff out the dream of Bangladesh four decades ago.
He was found guilty on five out of seven charges brought against him by the prosecution.
He was given death penalty on two charges – for abetting and facilitating the killing of intellectuals and participating in and facilitating the murder of nine Hindu civilians in Faridpur.
Mujaheed was arrested on June 29 in 2010 in connection with hurting religious sentiments of Muslims.
The investigation agency, designated to probe war crimes, started investigation his alleged crimes during the war on July 21, 2010, and completed its probe in October, 2011.
Mujaheed, who was a top leader of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the student wing of Jamaat in 1971, was shown arrested in the war crimes case on August 2, 2010.
On June 21 in 2012, He was indicted on seven charges.
The tribunal was set up in 2010 by the current Awami League-led government to try alleged local collaborators of the Pakistani army during Bangladesh’s War of Independence.
Like many other Jamaat leaders he went into hiding soon after independence of Bangladesh, but resurfaced after Gen Ziaur Rahman came to power in a military coup in 1977.
He later became social welfare minister in the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led government from 2001-2006.
There is a range of estimates for the exact number of people killed in the nine-month War of Independence in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh government figures suggest as many as three million people died during the war.
SALAUDDIN QUADER CHOWDHURY:
On July 30 this year, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh upheld the death penalty of condemned war criminal BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury rejecting his plea for reviewing the capital punishment for his crimes against humanity.
The BNP leader had served as the parliamentary affairs adviser of the then prime minister Khaleda Zia during 2001-06.
Salauddin, 66, the infamous war criminal of Raozan upazila in Chittagong, was awarded death sentence on four charges.
The apex court also upheld 20 years’ imprisonment of the BNP leader in two other charges and five years’ for two more charges including killing.
Salauddin was acquitted in one charges involving killing of Satish Chandra Palit, a Hindu inhabitants of Raozan area.
BNP standing committee member Salauddin is the son of Fazlul Quader Chowdhury, chief of convention Muslim League, which actively opposed the Liberation War in 1971.
On October 1, 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 found the BNP leader Salauddin guilty of nine of the 23 charges brought against him for committing crimes against humanity.
The war crimes include genocide abduction, torture and murder of individuals during the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh against Pakistan.
The BNP Standing Committee member challenged the verdict on October 29 the same year.
Prosecutors said Salauddin joined Pakistani forces and other auxiliary forces in committing atrocities in Chittagong and took part in large scale killing of unarmed Hindus.
He denied the charges, saying he was not in the country at the time, but the tribunal said evidence proved otherwise.
The special tribunals in Bangladesh have sentenced at least 10 opposition leaders for war crimes since 2010.
Both the BNP and the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami parties denounce the trials as politically motivated attempts to target opposition members.
According to documents, local collaborators and Pakistani occupation forces killed 3 million people, raped 200,000 women and displaced about 10 million to refugee camps in neighbouring India during the Liberation War in Bangladesh.