Dhaka, Nov 18 (IANS) Bangladesh’s Supreme court on Wednesday upheld its previous verdict awarding the death sentence to two convicted of war-time crimes, including murder of intellectuals and torture and killing of Hindus.
The court rejected the pleas of Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, secretary general of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), to review death sentences for crimes against humanity during the country’s war of independence in 1971, bdnews24.com reported.
Security has been beefed up in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country after the verdict against Chowdhury, 66, who is a member of BNP’s Standing Committee, the highest policy-making body of the party.
A bench of Chief Justice S.K. Sinha heard Mujahid’s plea on Tuesday and Chowdhury’s on Wednesday.
“There are no legal hurdles to execute the war criminals now,” Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said after the verdict.
A special tribunal sentenced Mujahid to death on July 17, 2013, for the murder of intellectuals and his involvement in the killing and torture of Hindus in 1971.
The former social welfare minister had appealed to the apex court, seeking the revocation of his death penalty but the bench upheld the tribunal verdict on June 16.
The indictment order said Mujahid was a key organiser of the Al-Badr, an auxiliary force of then Pakistani army which killed Bangalee intellectuals at the end of the Liberation War in 1971.
Mujahid’s Jamaat party had pleaded his innocence, saying he was another victim of political vendetta.
Chowdhury was sentenced to death by a War Crimes Tribunal on October 1, 2013, for the mass killing and torture of Hindus and Awami League supporters.
The bench upheld Chowdhury’s death penalty on July 29 after hearing his appeal against the tribunal decision.
Chowdhury was indicted on the charges of genocide, murders, abductions, torture in confinement, looting, arson attacks and complicity in other atrocities committed in 1971.
Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, a Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party leader convicted of war crimes, was executed in April, the second execution for crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 war.
Another Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla, also convicted of war crimes, was executed on December 12, 2013.
Mujahid and Chowdhury are now left with only the last option of seeking presidential clemency.
Muslim-majority Bangladesh was called East Pakistan till 1971. The government of Prime Minister Hasina said about three million people were killed in the nine-month war.