Two senior opposition leaders in Bangladesh on Sunday were executed for war crimes committed during the country’s 1971 war of independence with Pakistan. One of the men, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, was sentenced for crimes that included murdering Bengali nationalists and pro-liberation intellectuals during his position as second in command [AFP report] of the Eastern Pakistani paramilitary wing of the West Pakistan Army, al-Badr. Mujahid represented Bangladesh Jamaal-e-Islami, the largest Islamic political party in the country, as the Secretary General. The other, Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, was hanged [judgment, PDF] for genocide, torture and other crimes during his leadership position within the paramilitary wing composed of various Eastern Pakistani Islamist parties, al-Shams. Chowdhury was a member of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and other parties during his political career. Both men were convicted [BBC report] by the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh (ICTB)[official website], a domestic war crimes tribunal designed to investigate and try Bangladeshi suspects for their role in war crimes committed during the war of independence, in 2013.
The death sentences of Chowdhury and Mujahid were upheld [JURIST report] earlier this month by the Bangladesh Supreme Court. This decision came in spite of international criticism [JURIST report] of its ruling, with the court dismissing the final appeals of the two men. In June the ICTB sentenced to death [JURIST report] Syed Mohammad Hasan Ali, a fugitive commander of Eastern Pakistan’s paramilitary Razakar Bahini for torture and massacre. In February the Bangladesh court convicted and sentenced [JURIST report] militia leader and former lawmaker Abdul Jabbar to life in prison for genocide and religious persecution committed during the 1971 war of independence. Also in February the ICTB convicted and sentenced [JURIST report] Islamist leader Abdus Subhan to death for mass killing, looting and arson.