Countdown starts for Bangla Jamaat stalwart, Mir Quasem Ali's execution

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Dhaka, Aug 31: The countdown for the execution of 1971 Bangladesh war crimes convict and fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami-linked business tycoon Mir Quasem Ali began as prison authorities today conveyed to him the Supreme Court decision sealing his fate.

"We received the copy of the verdict and read it out before him at 7.30 am today," Superintendent of suburban Kashimpur Central Jail Proshanto Kumar Banik told reporters.

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The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court yesterday rejected a review petition by 64-year-old Ali, the infamous pro-Pakistan Al-Badr militia's third most important figure after Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami and Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid who have been executed.

Within hours, the full text of the 29-page verdict was immediately sent to Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal (ICT-BD), which originally handed him down the death sentence for committing crimes against humanity during 1971 Liberation War.

In line with the procedure the tribunal, on completion of formalities, forwarded the copies of the verdict to Dhaka's district magistrate and the prison authorities within two hours.

The Prison Department then sent the copy to Kashimpur Central Jail on the outskirts of the capital as the death-row convict and Jamaat-e-Islami leader has been lodged there.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said Ali now could seek presidential clemency as the last resort to save his neck.

The Daily Star newspaper, meanwhile, reported quoting unidentified prison officials that Ali sought time to decide over seeking presidential clemency.

Bangladesh has so far witnessed execution of five 1971 war crimes convicts since the trial process began in 2010 while only two of them sought the president's pardon which were rejected immediately.

The apex court yesterday sealed the fate of the senior Jamaat leader, reconfirming its own previous judgement as analysts said his "beyond the court" attempts alongside legal battle to thwart the trial appeared futile.

Several political analysts and lawyers said the business tycoon and Jamaat stalwart has exhausted all efforts to influence his trial on charges of committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.

The prosecution earlier said Ali, regarded as the key Jamaat financier, had made a USD 25 million deal with US lobby firm Cassidy & Associates for engaging with the governments of the United States and Bangladesh to protect "his interest".

As a young leader of Jamaat's the then student wing Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS) in 1971, Ali generated panic in public mind and earned curse of innocent people by his ruthless and brutal activities to mime the liberation aspirants.

PTI

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