Bangladesh executes Islamist party leader for war crimes

Dhaka: Bangladesh's Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leader Mohammad Kamaruzzaman was hanged late on Saturday for atrocities committed during the country's 1971 Liberation War, hours after authorities allowed family members to meet him one last time.

The 65-year-old Jamaat leader, whose execution seemed imminent, was hanged at the Dhaka Central Jail at 10 p.m., bdnews24.com reported citing Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia.

Dhaka’s Deputy Commissioner Tofazzal Hossain Miah and Civil Surgeon Abdul Malek Mridha arrived at the jail around 9 p.m., the report said.

A magistrate and an Islamic cleric also entered Kamaruzzaman's cell around half an hour later.

The family members of Kamaruzzaman arrived in two vans to meet the Jamaat leader for one last time at the jail. They left around 5.20 p.m. after spending about an hour inside.

Jail authorities had asked Kamaruzzaman's family members to meet him between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., his son Hasan Iqbal said.

Earlier in the day, State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters that Kamaruzzaman had decided not to beg the president for mercy.

Filing a mercy petition with President Abdul Hamid was the last resort for the Jamaat leader to save himself from being executed.

Prior to the hanging, security at the Dhaka Central Jail was beefed up. A large contingent of security forces was deployed in the jail area and streets around the jail were closed to traffic.

Hundreds of people thronged the area in the afternoon when Kamaruzzaman’s family entered the jail to meet him.

Police asked the people to clear the area in the evening.

Kamaruzzaman will be buried in his ancestral home town of Kumri Bajitkhila in Sherpur district as per his wish, his elder brother Kafil Uddin said.

The Jamaat leader was indicted in June 2012 on seven charges of crimes against humanity including looting, mass killings, arson, rape and forcibly converting people into Muslims during the war.

Bangladesh's war crimes tribunal found him guilty of collaborating with Pakistani forces and committing war crimes, including mass killings.

He was sentenced to death in 2013.

His plea against the death sentence was rejected on April 6 by a four-member bench headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha.

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