Dhaka: Bangladesh’s Supreme Court rejected on Tuesday a final appeal by a top Jamaat-e-Islami leader convicted of war crimes in the country’s independence war against Pakistan, confirming a death sentence given earlier by a special tribunal.
Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha led a five-member bench of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court to turn down the appeal by Mir Quashem Ali in Dhaka amid expectation that his death sentence would be upheld.
But Sinha pronounced “dismissed” after he took seat in the morning. Officials said a certified copy of the verdict would be sent shortly to the Dhaka Central Jail through the International Crimes Tribunal to take necessary steps for the execution.
Tuesday’s decision means there is no legal bar anymore to execute Ali, who is a member of Jamaat-e-Islami’s highest policy-making body and considered one of the party’s top financiers with businesses from real estate to shipping. He is a business conglomerate with base in southeastern Chittagong city, which is the home of the country’s main seaport.
The prosecution says Ali has spent millions of dollars to campaign by lobbyists against his death sentence and possible execution. Attorney General Mahbubey Alam on Tuesday said they were happy with the verdict. It was not clear exactly when the execution would take place but the attorney general said it would follow previous cases of execution involving the similar charges.
Ali, a commander of the war time militia group Al-Badr, would still be able to seek presidential clemency. His lawyers said Ali and his family would decide whether to seek clemency from President Abdul Hamid. On November 2, 2014 the special tribunal had found Ali guilty on eight charges including murder, abduction and torture. Two of the charges carried a death sentence while he was also sentenced to 72 years in prison on other charges.