Free Press Journal

1971 war: Bangladesh SC turns down Islamist leader’s final appeal against death penalty


Karachi: The Bangladeshi Supreme Court has dismissed a petition filed by Islamist leader Mohammad Kamaruzzaman against a death penalty for overseeing a massacre during the 1971 war of independence, clearing the last hurdle to his execution.

In a brief session at the court, Chief Justice S.K. Sinha upheld the death sentence handed down by a war crimes tribunal in May 2013 on charges of torture, abduction and mass killings in his role as a leader of the Al Badr militia during the 1971 war, reported the Dawn.

Kamaruzzaman, the third most senior figure in the Jamaat-e-Islami party, could now be hanged within three days for presiding over a mass slaughter at the so-called “Village of Widows.”

The 62-year-old’s death sentence can only be struck down if he is granted clemency by President Abdul Hamid. However, analysts said that the chances of reprieve were bleak as the ruling effectively confirmed claims that he was one of the chief organisers of a pro-Pakistan militia which killed thousands of people.

Prosecutors said that he oversaw the killing of at least 120 unarmed farmers, who were lined up and gunned down in the remote northern village of Sohagpur.

Any execution is likely to spark tensions in the troubled nation.