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Bangladesh Supreme Court denies Islamist leader’s final appeal, upholds death sentence
Bangladesh Supreme Court denies Islamist leader’s final appeal, upholds death sentence

The Supreme Court of Bangladesh [official website] on Tuesday denied [judgment, PDF] the final appeal of Mir Quasem Ali, an opposition leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, and upheld his death sentence. Ali was sentenced to death in 2014 by the International Crimes Tribunal, Bangladesh (ICTB) [official website] for murder, confinement, torture and incitement to religious hatred during during the Bangladesh war of independence in 1971. The death sentence was upheld [JURIST report] by the Supreme Court in March. UN humans rights experts urged [JURIST report] the government of Bangladesh to repeal the death sentence imposed upon Ali for failing to meet international standards on fair trial and due process for the imposition of the death penalty. Ali may now be executed at anytime following the ruling.

The ICTB, established in 2009 under the International Crimes Act [text], is charged with investigating and prosecuting war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence. During the conflict, more than 3 million people are believed to have died and thousands of women raped, but the Jamaat-e-Islami party insists it did not commit any war crimes. Human rights groups have criticized [JURIST report] death sentences imposed by the ICTB, stating that trials of war criminals have, in the past, “failed to meet international standards.” Motiur Rahman Nizami was executed [JURIST report] in May for war crimes. Also in May, the ICTB sentenced four men to death for crimes against humanity committed during Bangladesh’s war of independence.