Bangladesh Hangs Islamist Leader Over 1971 Crimes

Abdul Kader Mullah

Bangladesh has hanged Islamist party leader Abdul Kader Mullah for crimes committed during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan, a private broadcaster reports.

Security was tight for the execution, which comes more than four decades after Bangladesh won its independence in a bloody war that left an estimated three million people dead, 200,000 women raped and numerous homes torched.

A jail official said Abdul Kader Mullah, a central leader of opposition Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, was hanged at Dhaka Central Jail at 10.01pm on Thursday.

The path had been cleared for the execution after the Supreme Court in September rejected Mullah’s plea for a review of his sentence.

Television footage showed police and paramilitary troopers guarding Dhaka central jail as ambulances entered the prisons with sirens blaring.

Mullah, who was convicted of mass murder and rape, had originally been scheduled to be executed early on Wednesday, but a Supreme Court judge halted the order barely two hours before the original scheduled execution time.

Several thousand youths had gathered in central Dhaka beforehand demanding the execution and chanting slogans calling for trials of war crimes suspects. They also demanded the execution of others recently convicted of war crimes.

Earlier in the evening, the convict’s family met with Mullah at the central jail. They stayed inside the jail for an hour.

Mullah, the assistant secretary general of Bangladesh’s largest Islamic political party, is the first of seven opposition leaders set to be executed as a result of a series of verdicts handed down by a special tribunal tasked with investigating war crimes.