Islamist party official executed for war crimes
Authorities in Bangladesh yesterday executed a senior Islamist party official convicted of crimes against humanity during the country's 1971 independence war against Pakistan, triggering a call for a nationwide general strike by the condemned man's supporters.
One prison official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, told The Associated Press that Mohammad Qamaruzzaman was put to death by hanging last night inside the central jail in the capital, Dhaka.
Prosecutors say Qamaruzzaman, an assistant secretary general of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, headed a militia group that collaborated with the Pakistani army in central Bangladesh in 1971 and was behind the killings of at least 120 unarmed farmers.
Bangladesh blames Pakistani soldiers and local collaborators for the deaths of three million people during the nine-month war seeking independence from Pakistan. An estimated 200,000 women were raped and about 10 million people were forced to take shelter in refugee camps in neighbouring India.
In a statement late Saturday, Jaamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh's largest political party, denounced the execution and called for a nationwide general strike for tomorrow to protest the government's action.