Ankara ‘harshly condemns’ execution in Bangladesh

Ankara ‘harshly condemns’ execution in Bangladesh

Ankara ‘harshly condemns’ execution in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi security personnel stand guard at the jail where Abdul Quader Mollah, a top Islamist leader convicted of war crimes, was hanged in Dhaka on December 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO

Ankara has strongly condemned the execution of an Islamist opposition leader in Bangladesh, which went ahead despite provoking an outcry from the international community, as well as from the prime minister of Turkey.

“The execution of the death penalty sentence given to one of the leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, Abdul Quader Mollah, despite all concerns and suggestions voiced in the international community, including our Prime Minister, has led to a grave sadness and indignation. We harshly condemn this execution; may God have mercy upon him,” said a written statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Dec. 12 shortly before midnight.

Mollah was hanged earlier the same night for war crimes committed during Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971.

As of Dec. 12, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, urging for a stay of execution, while Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, speaking to reporters in Yerevan on the same day, said that he conducted talks with his Saudi counterpart to stop Mollah’s execution.

The Foreign Ministry recalled that President Abdullah Gül sent letters to both the president and prime minister of Bangladesh back in December 2012 in order to prevent “this saddening result,” as Turkey exerted all kind of efforts and launched initiatives both at bilateral and international levels.

“Turkey believes that wounds of the past cannot be healed and social consensus cannot be reached this way. We are concerned that the execution of the penalty and continuation of actions with this mentality will lead to further escalation of the tension in Bangladesh,” The Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry concluded by pledging continuation of support for Bangladesh’s people and wishing for a peaceful end to these critical times in the country.

Deadly clashes in Bangladesh after execution

Meanwhile, Bangladesh was rocked by a new wave of deadly violence Dec. 13 as Islamist supporters went on the rampage to vent their fury at the execution of Mollah, Agence France-Presse has reported.

Mollah became the first person to be hanged for his role in the country's bloody 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

He had been found guilty in February by a much-criticized domestic tribunal of having been a leader of a pro-Pakistan militia that fought against the country's independence and killed some of Bangladesh's top professors, doctors, writers and journalists.

Mollah was convicted of rape, murder and mass murder, including the killing of more than 350 unarmed civilians. Prosecutors called him the "Butcher of Mirpur", a Dhaka suburb where he committed most of the atrocities. Fears that the execution could spark further unrest, in a country where political violence is intensifying in the build-up to deeply divisive elections, were soon realized as reports emerged of street battles in towns and cities.