Bangladesh hangs former Jamaat Leader, prompting rights groups concern: On 3 September, Bangladesh hanged Mir Quasem Ali, a key figure of Jamaat-e-Islami party, for atrocities committed during the 1971 war of indepencence from Pakistan. Quasem Ali was allegedly one of the leaders of Al-Badr, a paramilitary organization that supported the West Pakistani army against the East Pakistani army during a war that led to the death of approximately 3 million people. The 61-years-old was tried in 2014 by the country’s specially constituted International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), and was convicted for the crimes of murder, confinement, torture and incitement to religious hatred allegedly committed by forces under his command during the war. Established in 2010, the ICT has been repeatedly criticized for falling short of international standards, particularly in regards to fair trial rights. On August 24, following the High Court’s rejection of Ali’s final appeal, a group of UN experts urged the Bangladeshi government to annul the death sentence and grant Ali a retrial, underscoring how the proceedings had reportedly been “marred” by “irregularities”. The government has denied such accusations and pointed to the popular support that these trials enjoy amongst Bangladeshi. “While many in Bangladesh believe Quasem Ali to be guilty and want him punished, justice is only served through fair trials,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Authorities owe it to the victims to establish guilt with proper evidence rather than fast-tracking hangings after unfair trials.” (Reuters, HRW).
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