Turkey expresses sorrow over execution of Bangladeshi Islamist party figure
ANKARATurkey has expressed sorrow over the execution of Mir Quasem Ali, a key financier and central executive council member of the Jamaat-e-Islami party in Bangladesh, on grounds of atrocities committed during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.
“We have learned with sorrow that the death sentence issued by the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh against Mir Quasem Ali… has been executed in Bangladesh,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement released on Sept. 4 said.
“We stress once again that the wounds of the past cannot be healed with these methods and hope that this wrong practice will not lead to separation among the brotherly people of Bangladesh,” it added.
Ali, 63, was executed at Kashimpur Central Jail on the outskirts of the capital for murder, confinement, torture and incitement to religious hatred during the war.
Ali was hanged at 10:35 p.m. (4:35 p.m. GMT), Bangladeshi Law Minister Anisul Haq told Reuters, days after Bangladesh’s highest court rejected his final appeal against the death sentence.
The war crimes tribunal set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010 sparked violence and has been criticized by opposition politicians, who say it is targeting her political foes. The government denies the accusations.
The government also rejected allegations by human rights groups that the tribunal’s proceedings fell short of international standards, adding the trials were supported by many Bangladeshis.
Hundreds of people flooded the streets of the capital to cheer the execution.
“We have waited for this day for a long 45 years,” said war veteran Akram Hossain. “Justice has finally been done.”
Media tycoon Ali was the last of a number of the Jamaat leaders to be executed, having been sentenced to death in 2014 by the war crimes tribunal.
Jamaat-e-Islami, which said the charges against Ali were baseless, called for a half-day strike on Sept. 5 in protest. It said Ali had been “hanged unjustifiably as part of the government’s conspiracy to make Jamaat-e-Islami a leaderless party.”
Thousands of extra police and border guards were deployed in Dhaka and other major cities. Previous convictions and executions triggered violence that has killed about 200 people, most of them Islamist party activists, and police.
Since December 2013 four other prominent Jamaat members, including former leader Motiur Rahman Nizami, and a leader of the main opposition party, have been executed for war crimes.