Bangladesh Hangs Is­lamist Ty­coon

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Ja­maat-e-Is­lami leader Mir Quasem Ali was ex­e­cuted on Satur­day night af­ter de­cid­ing not to seek pres­i­den­tial clemency, the last op­tion for a death row con­vict to avoid the gal­lows.

Ali, a fi­nan­cial backer of the Ja­maat and a busi­ness ty­coon, was hanged at around 10:30pm at the high se­cu­rity Kashim­pur jail in Gazipur dis­trict near Dhaka, the jail au­thor­i­ties said. Bangladesh Home Min­is­ter Asaduz­za­man Khan Ka­mal con­firmed the ex­e­cu­tion. Ali, who had led the ruth­less Al-Badr mili­tia — that sup­ported Pak­istan Army in the port city of Chit­tagong dur­ing na­tion’s Lib­er­a­tion War in 1971 — be­came the sixth in­di­vid­ual to go to gal­lows for ‘crimes against hu­man­ity’, over four decades af­ter Bangladesh emerged as an in­de­pen­dent coun­try through a war against Pak­istan .

Be­fore the high-pro­file ex­e­cu­tion, jail au­thor­i­ties al­lowed 22 of Quasem’s fam­ily mem­bers to meet him.

Tight se­cu­rity

Rus­sel Sheikh, a se­nior Po­lice of­fi­cial, told AFP that of­fi­cials had taken the “high­est se­cu­rity mea­sures” ahead of the ex­e­cu­tion for fear of vi­o­lence by his Is­lamist sup­port­ers. More than 1000 po­lice per­son­nel were de­ployed in Gazipur and hun­dreds of para­mil­i­tary bor­der guards were out­side the prison and in Dhaka, se­cu­rity of­fi­cials told AFP. While the other five con­victs were hanged at the Dhaka Cen­tral Jail, Quasem was the first per­son to be hanged out­side the cap­i­tal. On Wed­nes­day, a day af­ter the Supreme Court up­held Quasem’s death penalty, the Ja­maat leader had sought more time to de­cide on seek­ing a pres­i­den­tial clemency, which would re­quire an ad­mis­sion of guilt. He later changed his mind and de­cided not opt for it

Ali,, prior to his ar­rest in 2012, had headed the Di­ganta Me­dia Cor­po­ra­tion, which owns a pro-Ja­maat daily and a tele­vi­sion sta­tion that was shut down in 2013 for stok­ing re­li­gious ten­sions. He was con­victed in Novem­ber 2014 for a se­ries of war crimes in­clud­ing the ab­duc­tion and mur­der of a young in­de­pen­dence fighter.

Ja­maat-e-Is­lami leader Mir Quasem Ali

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