Motiur Rahman Nizami
Motiur Rahman Nizami

Motiur Rahman Nizami was hanged after his final appeal to overturn a death sentence was dismissed and he refused to seek mercy from Bangladeshi President Abdul Hamid, The Guardian reported.

Motiur Rahman Nizami
Motiur Rahman Nizami

Nizami, 73, the leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was convicted for setting up the pro-Pakistani al-Badr militia, which was responsible for killing writers, doctors and journalists during the the war for independence in an effort to “intellectually cripple” Bangladesh as it was attempting to establish itself as a nation.

“We’ve been waiting for this day,” the Bangladeshi home affairs minister, Asaduzzaman Khan, said of the execution, adding that people “will remember this day for ever.”

Nizami was the fifth and highest-ranked opposition leader to be executed since 2013 for war crimes, as part of a string of convictions by the country’s international crimes tribunal.

Nizami was also a former member of the government’s cabinet, serving from 2001 to 2006 after helping get an Islamist government elected in 2000. More than a dozen opposition leaders have been sentenced for war crimes in the last few years, which members of the Islamist party say is aimed at harming the opposition party.

“Nizami has been deprived of justice,” said Maqbul Ahmad, Jamaat-e-Islami’s acting leader, according to the BBC. “He’s a victim of political vengeance.”

Although hundreds of people were seen celebrating the execution, the government was bracing for violence after the hanging based on the killings of gay rights and religious activists, a liberal professor, foreigners and members of religious minorities in recent weeks. The government has blamed Islamist groups and was warning the public it had set up special magistrates to quickly identify and sentence anyone responsible for violence.

The war crimes trials have been widely criticized as being unfair outside the country, as the accused were not given wide opportunity to defend themselves, were limited in the number witnesses that could be called on their behalf and were not allowed to cross-examine those called by the prosecution.

“While many in Bangladesh believe Nizami to be guilty and want him punished, justice is only served through fair trials,” Brad Adams, the Asia director.

Source: GNA

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