Bangladesh hanged Islamist party leader Motiur Rahman Nizami on Wednesday, May 11 for genocide and other crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan, the law minister said, risking an angry reaction from his supporters, Reuters reports.
Nizami, head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was hanged at Dhaka Central jail just after midnight, Law Minister Anisul Haq told Reuters, after the Supreme Court rejected his final plea against a death sentence imposed by a special tribunal for genocide, rape and orchestrating the massacre of top intellectuals during the war.
Nizami, 73, a former legislator and minister during opposition leader Khaleda Zia’s last term as prime minister, was sentenced to death in 2014.
Hundreds of people flooded the streets of the capital, Dhaka, to cheer the execution. “We have waited for this day for a long 45 years,” said war veteran Akram Hossain. “Justice has finally been served.”
But the war crimes tribunal set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010 has sparked violence and drawn criticism from opposition politicians, including leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, that it is victimizing Hasina’s political opponents, Reuters says.
About three million people were killed, the government says, and thousands of women were raped during the 1971 war in which some factions, including the Jamaat-e-Islami, opposed the break from what was then called West Pakistan. The party denies that its leaders committed any atrocities.
International human rights groups say the tribunal’s procedures fall short of international standards. The government denies the accusations.