Turkey condemns execution of Bangladesh’s Islamist party head

Turkey condemns execution of Bangladesh’s Islamist party head

Turkey condemns execution of Bangladesh’s Islamist party head

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has condemned the execution of Motiur Rahman Nizami, the leader of Bangladesh’s top Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, while demonstrators in the Turkish capital Ankara and Istanbul protested against Nizami’s execution. 

“I condemn the mentality that sentences to death a mujahid, who is over the age of 70 and who we believe has no earthly sin. I think that such proliferation of hatred there, and the ordering of such death sentences despite our repeated initiatives, is neither fair governance nor a democratic mentality,” said Erdoğan on May 10.

Bangladeshi Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the 73-year-old Nizami, was hanged at 12:10 a.m. local time on May 11 inside Dhaka central jail amid tight security. He was executed for his role in atrocities committed during the country’s independence war against Pakistan in 1971.

“12 million people have been victimized in Syria and about 600,000 innocent people have been killed. No Muslim can completely free himself/herself of responsibility for this sin. Those who keep silent now in the face of what happens in Bangladesh cannot get rid of responsibility either,” Erdoğan also said. 

Bangladesh’s Supreme Court on May 5 rejected a final appeal by Nizami, who refused to seek presidential clemency to commute his death sentence. A condemned man can seek such clemency from the country’s figurehead president.

A crowd of activists celebrated outside the jail in Dhaka, while Jamaat-e-Islami issued a statement condemning the execution and called for a daylong general strike across Bangladesh for May 12. 

In Ankara, groups connected to several Turkish NGOs protested in front of the Bangladeshi embassy late on May 10, while members of the Anatolia Youth Association (AGD) gathered to voice their objections at a park in Istanbul. 

“Oh Muslim, don’t sleep, protect your brother,” some shouted, while others chanted “Hell awaits the wrongdoers.” 

AGD head Hasan Karaman described the death sentence as “unlawful,” saying a prerequisite of the Islamic faith is to cherish human life.  

“Law cannot be implemented in the most brutal manner against the legitimate demands and choices of the people. Oppression cannot continue forever,” Karaman told state-run Anadolu Agency. 

“It is clear that peace and tranquility cannot be maintained in Bangladesh under the shadow of an oppressive regime, one that makes no legitimate claims and has no conscience of mercy in the world,” he added.