Bangladeshi Militant Leader Hanged

Bangladeshi Militant Leader HangedBangladeshi Militant Leader Hanged

A militant leader has been hanged in Bangladesh for crimes during the war of independence from Pakistan in 1971.

Motiur Rahman Nizami, 73, was executed early on Wednesday (local time), Law Minister Anisul Haq confirmed. He had been convicted of genocide, rape and torture.

Nizami had led Bangladesh’s largest party, Jamaat-e-Islami. Hundreds of people gathered near his prison in the capital Dhaka to celebrate the hanging, BBC reported. He was the fifth and highest-ranked opposition leader to be executed since December 2013 for war crimes.

Bangladesh says the prosecutions are needed to heal the wounds of conflict, but human rights groups say the trials fall short of global standards and lack international oversight.

Last week, Nizami lost his final appeal against the sentence. He was hanged after refusing to seek mercy from President Abdul Hamid. “Nizami has been deprived of justice,” Jamaat’s acting leader, Maqbul Ahmad, said. “He’s a victim of political vengeance.”

The party also called for a nationwide strike on Thursday.

Nizami is the fourth leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party to have been executed since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina set up a war crimes tribunal to look into abuses during the independence war.

A former government minister, Nizami was one of the most important figures to be found guilty. He was convicted of setting up a militia that helped the Pakistani Army identify and kill pro-independence activists.

His family met him briefly before his execution but left without speaking to the media, Bangladesh’s Daily Star reports.