Bangladesh Supreme Court upholds death sentence for Islamist politician

Bangladesh Supreme Court upholds death sentence for Islamist politician

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Bangladesh [official website] on Monday upheld the death sentence of Islamist politician Mohammad Kamaruzzaman. The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh [JURIST news archive] convicted Kamaruzzaman last year for committing war crimes including mass murder during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [Global Security backgrounder]. He is assistant secretary general of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) [party website; Global Security backgrounder], Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party. Kamaruzzaman will be the second senior JI official to be executed. Last week JI leader Motiur Rahman Nizami was also sentenced to death [JURIST report] for atrocities during the 1971 war.

Activists have long called for the banning of the country’s largest Islamist party. In March Bangladeshi investigators moved the government [JURIST report] to ban Islamist party after evidence emerged indicating that JI formed armed groups to assist Pakistani forces in the commission of atrocities. In September the Supreme Court of Bangladesh commuted the death sentence of top JI Vice President Delwar Hossain Sayedee, sentencing him to life behind bars for crimes committed during the 1971 independence war. On February 10 prominent leader AKM Yusuf, died [JURIST report] of cardiac arrest while in prison awaiting trial for his role in the 1971 conflict. He was accused of helping to train leaders of the pro-Pakistan paramilitary group called the “Razakars.” Another party leader, Abdus Subhan, was arrested in September and charged [JURIST report] by the tribunal in January for his alleged role. In December the Bangladeshi government executed [JURIST report] Abdul Quader Mullah after conviction for war crimes. Though originally sentenced to life in prison by the tribunal, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh in September sentenced him to death with no opportunity to appeal. The execution sparked widespread protests.