Bangladesh appeared to hang the key financier of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami and media tycoon Mir Quasem Ali for 1971 war crimes on Saturday as the execution order reached the jail where he is currently lodged under tight security.
Authorities called Ali’s family to the prison and intensified security around the Kashimpur Central Jail on the outskirts of the capital. “Twenty-two members of his family reached the jail to see him (Ali) for the last time,” private TV channels reported quoting an official of the jail where Ali is kept in an isolated cell.
He, however, evaded a direct question if Ali was set to be executed by tonight, saying: “We are always ready.” The ‘executive order’ to hang Ali reached the jail today, according to officials, meaning he can be hanged any time now. Officials are likely to execute Ali tonight as most of the past executions have occurred after 10 pm. Five war crimes convicts were executed so far since Bangladesh initiated a trial process in 2010 for the 1971 war criminals. They were hanged soon after their family members saw them off for the last time. Yesterday, Ali declined to seek presidential mercy as the last resort to save his neck after the Supreme Court rejected his final review petition earlier this week.
Jail superintendent Prashanta Kumar Banik told reporters about the decision by 63-year-old Ali, who is the infamous pro-Pakistan Al-Badr militia’s third most important figure and had sought time to make the crucial decision after the apex court upheld its earlier ruling.
“Now there remains no bar in executing him anytime… the government can make preparation for his execution,” attorney general Mahbubey Alam said on Friday. Alam earlier said that unlike the ordinary cases, the condemned war criminals were not entitled to a certain period before being hanged after the apex court verdict as they were tried under a special law. Ali was conveyed the verdict on Wednesday, a day after the Supreme Court upheld an earlier ruling that had handed down a death sentence, following which he had sought time to decide over seeking the clemency.
Widely considered as the top financier of Jamaat, Ali said he would not decide what to do next until his son, allegedly picked up by unidentified men 22 days ago, returns home, Ayesha had told reporters. Of the five executed war crimes convicts, two sought presidential clemency which was rejected. The last execution was that of Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami over war crimes on May 10 this year.