Dhaka, Apr 10: Top fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami leader Muhammad Quamaruzzaman, who has lost his final bid to overturn his death sentence for the 1971 war crimes, will be hanged in Bangladesh tomorrow, a minister said today.
"Quamaruzzaman's execution process will not be carried out today, he will be hanged tomorrow," junior home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told the 'Prothom Alo' newspaper, ending speculation over the execution of the 63-year-old Jamaat-e-Islami assistant secretary general.
His comments came after media reports earlier said that the Jamaat leader was set to be executed by tonight. "The gallows are ready," a jail official had said after a civil surgeon and other concerned officials required to witness the execution under laws entered the high security Dhaka Central Jail in the evening.
Elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) troops too were mobilised around the jail complex in aide of prison guards and armed police at Nazimuddin Road in old part of Dhaka. But the execution process was halted abruptly as the authorities decided to delay the hanging at the last moment despite all preparedness.
However, Kamal or any senior official did not explain the reason for the delay. Kamal earlier today said Quamaruzzaman eventually decided not to seek presidential mercy and "he will be given no more time to seek the clemency".
Two executive magistrates today met him at his prison cell in the morning to ask if he wanted to file the mercy petition after the apex court earlier sealed his fate, rejecting his plea to review the verdict. Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in May 2013 sentenced Quamaruzzaman to death for committing crimes against humanity siding with the Pakistani troops during the 1971 liberation war.
Quamaruzzaman was found him guilty of mass killing, murder, abduction, torture, rape, persecution and abetment of torture in central Mymensingh region. He was convicted for killing 164 people at a village in his home district in northern Sherpur.
The Supreme Court on November 3 last year upheld his death penalty. The apex court, however, issued the full text of the judgement on February 18 and sent it to the ICT, which immediately issued a death warrant. About three million people were killed by the Pakistani army and their Bengali-speaking collaborators during the liberation. When the verdict is carried out, Quamaruzzaman will be the second Jamaat leader after Quader Mollah to be executed for the 1971 offences.