Top Islamist gets death for war crimes in Bangladesh

Dhaka: A top leader of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami party was sentenced to death today by a special Bangladeshi tribunal for committing "crimes against humanity" and unleashing ruthless militias on unarmed intellectuals during the country's 1971 liberation war.
 
65-year-old Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed was given death penalty by the International Crimes Tribunal-2, two days after JI's 91-year-old supremo Ghulam Azam was sentenced to 90 years in jail.
 
"He will be hanged by neck till he is dead," Justice Obaidul Hassan, the chairman of the three-member panel of judges pronounced, reading out the operative part of the verdict in a jam-packed courtroom here.
 
Mojaheed, initially looked expressionless as he was brought to the dock but appeared shocked as the judge handed down the punishments.
 
Hassan said five of the seven charges brought against Mojaheed were "proved beyond doubt" and the court sentenced him to death on two counts for personal involvement in the killings of several pro-liberation activists.
 
Mojaheed was the second in command of the infamous Al Badr militia forces, manned mainly by Jamaat's then student wing.
 
Al Badr had systematically killed leading Bengali intelligentsia during the liberation war and acted as an elite auxiliary force of the Pakistani troops.
 
Mojaheed was found guilty of "superior responsibility" and "criminal liability" of the atrocities.
 
The judgement said that it found valid the allegations that Mojaheed was personally involved in systematic persecution of the Hindu community.
 
It found the complaints about Mojaheed commanding a systematic campaign to kill leading Bengali intelligentsia to be true.
 
The tribunal said, Mojaheed ordered the murder of leading journalist Sirajuddin Hossain and instigated a Pakistani military officer to torture and kill several prominent figures, including famous musician Altaf Mahmud and freedom fighter Rumi, "before the (Pakistani) president declared an amnesty".
 
Security forces whisked Mojaheed away from the dock after the verdict was delivered, even as he screamed that he was "victimised" for his role in the Islamic movement.
 
Reacting to the verdict, JI called for a nationwide strike tomorrow to protest against Mojaheed's death penalty.