Bangladesh war criminal Mir Quasem decides against clemency

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Dhaka, Sep 2 (IANS) Bangladesh war criminal and death row convict Mir Quasem Ali has decided not to seek presidential clemency, the last option to avoid the gallows.

The 63-year-old Jamaat-e-Islami leader and business tycoon said he will not seek mercy of the President, Prashanta Kumar Banik, senior jail superintendent, told The Daily Star on Friday.

The Jamaat-e-Islami leader, whose atrocities during the 1971 Liberation War in Chittagong earned him the nickname ‘Bangali Khan’, can be executed any time now.

On Wednesday, a day after the Supreme Court upheld his death penalty for war crimes, Quasem had sought time to decide his next course of action.

He was sentenced to death in 2014 by the country’s specially constituted International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), for the atrocities he committed during the 1971 Liberation War as an Al-Badr commander.

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His last review petition was rejected by the Appellate Division of the apex court on Tuesday.

Quasem, widely considered as a top financer of anti-liberation party Jamaat, had spent a huge sum of money to appoint a US lobbyist to make the war crimes trials controversial.

On Wednesday, Mir Quasem’s wife after meeting him in prison had alleged that their son, who is a lawyer, had been whisked away by men in plainclothes.

She said that the family would decide about clemency only after his return.

The state authorities, on the other hand, have said that Mir Quasem will be provided with “reasonable time” to decide for the clemency.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the Bangladesh government to halt the execution.

“The death sentence against Mir Quasem Ali, a central executive committee member of Bangladesh’s Jamaat-e-Islami, should be suspended with immediate effect,” the Daily Star cited HRW from its press release.

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