Bangladesh hangs top Jamaat financier Mir Quasem Ali for 1971 war crimes | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Bangladesh hangs top Jamaat financier Mir Quasem Ali for 1971 war crimes

world Updated: Sep 04, 2016 01:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Bangladeshi security personnel stand guard in front of Kashimpur Central Jail where Mir Quashem Ali, a senior leader of the main Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, was executed. (AP)

Authorities in Bangladesh executed on Saturday a top Jamaat-e-Islami party leader convicted of war crimes involving Bangladesh’s independence war against Pakistan in 1971, an official said.

Proshanto Kumar Bonik, a senior jail superintendent, told reporters that Mir Quasem Ali, known as a business tycoon and top financier for the party, was hanged at 10.30pm. (Bangladesh time) inside Kashimpur jail in Gazipur district.

Hours after his family members met Ali inside the jail house, the excursion happened amid tight security.

The execution took place as Ali on Friday told authorities that he would not seek presidential clemency for his crimes.

It followed Tuesday’s rejection by the country’s Supreme Court of a final appeal for scrapping the death sentence given by a special tribunal in 2014.

The Jamaat-e-Islami party has called an eight-hour general strike across the country on Monday to protest against the execution.

Relatives of Mir Quashem Ali arrive at Kashimpur Central Jail to meet him. (AP)

Ali is the sixth man to be hanged since 2010 when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formed the special tribunal to try suspected war criminals. Five of them were from Jamaat-e-Islami party, which is the main partner of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Ali became a business tycoon with connection in Saudi Arabia and other middle eastern nations and turned out to be a top financier of Jamaat-e-Islami that was banned after Bangladesh gained independence. But later the party returned to the political landscape following the assassination of independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.

Ali built businesses from real estate to shipping to media over the last few decades.

On Tuesday, Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha rejected the appeal by Ali, clearing the last legal barrier. Still he had the option to seek presidential clemency but on Friday he refused to do so.

In November, 2014 a special tribunal had sentenced Ali to death for abduction, torture and murder.

Ali was a member of Jamaat-e-Islami’s highest policy-making body. He was found guilty on eight charges including murder.

Jamaat-e-Islami had openly campaigned against independence in 1971.

Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators like Ali, killed 3 million people, raped 200,000 women and forced 10 million people to flee to refugee camps across the border in India.

Read | Rise of extremism: Struggle for the soul of Bangladesh