Party calls for strike in Dhaka

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Bangladesh has ex­e­cuted a top ex­trem­ist party leader con­victed of war crimes in­volv­ing the na­tion’s 1971 in­de­pen­dence war against Pak­istan, of­fi­cials said.

Mir Quasem Ali, a leader of the Ja­maat-e-Is­lami party, was hanged at 10.30pm on Satur­day, hours after sev­eral dozen fam­ily mem­bers and rel­a­tives met him for the last time in­side Kashim­pur Cen­tral Jail near the cap­i­tal, Dhaka, ac­cord­ing to Proshanto Ku­mar Bonik, a se­nior jail su­per­in­ten­dent.

“We are do­ing our nec­es­sary for­mal­i­ties now. We will send the body soon to the an­ces­tral home in Manikganj district for burial,” Bonik said.

Im­me­di­ately after the ex­e­cu­tion, Home Min­is­ter Asaduz­za­man Khan said se­cu­rity mea­sures were put in place to pre­vent un­rest by Ali’s sup­port­ers, in­clud­ing de­ploy­ment of para­mil­i­tary bor­der guards and ad­di­tional po­lice in Dhaka and other cities.

The Ja­maat-e-Is­lami party in a state­ment protested Ali’s ex­e­cu­tion and called for an eighthour gen­eral strike to­day.

The ex­e­cu­tion took place a day after Ali re­fused to seek pres­i­den­tial clemency. The pres­i­dent had pre­vi­ously re­jected ap­peals for clemency by other ex­trem­ist party lead­ers fac­ing ex­e­cu­tion.

Last week, the Supreme Court re­jected a fi­nal ap­peal for re­view­ing Ali’s death sen­tence handed out by a spe­cial tri­bunal two years ago.

A spe­cial tri­bunal deal­ing with war crimes sen­tenced Ali to death in Novem­ber 2014. The 63-year-old was found guilty on eight charges, two of which car­ried the death sen­tence, in­clud­ing the ab­duc- tion and mur­der of a young man in a tor­ture cham­ber. Ali was sen­tenced to 72 years in prison on the other charges.

He built his for­tune by es­tab­lish­ing busi­nesses in real es­tate, ship­ping and bank­ing, and he was con­sid­ered one of the party’s top fi­nanciers.

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