Forty-two years into Bangladesh’s bloody war of liberation, Abdul Quader Mollah, a key ally of the Pakistani occupation force, was hanged tonight inside Dhaka Central Jail for his wartime offences.
The first war criminal to pay for the 1971 crimes against humanity, the Jamaat-e-Islami assistant secretary general was executed at 10:01pm hours after the country’s highest court dismissed his petition to review his death sentence.
“His body remained hanging for 20 minutes before it was taken down,” Dhaka Deputy Commissioner Sheikh Yusuf Mreedha told The Daily Star.
The then president of Shahidullah Hall unit of Islami Chhatra Sangha, then student wing of Jamaat, the 65-year-old completed the full circle of legal ways to save his skin before walking to the gallows.
Known as Koshai (butcher) Quader for his brutal style of torture on the freedom-seeking people during the country’s Liberation War, he declined to seek presidential clemency even though the authorities approached him thrice.
An ambulance carrying Mollah’s body came out of Dhaka Centyral Jail at 11:08pm. Heavily guarded by members of police and Rapid Action Battalion, the a
mbulance started for Sadarpur Upazila in Faridpur where he will be buried.
His relatives received the body.
A special squad of Rab and police has been formed to provide them security on the way.
Earlier, Inspector General (Prisons) Main Uddin Khandaker entered the prison at 8:15pm.
Fifteen minutes later, flood lights of the prisons were turned on around 8:30apm.
Around 9:15pm, deputy commissioner of Dhaka, Civil Surgeon of Dhaka Abdul Malek, and Imam of Dhaka Central Jail Jame-Mosque Monir Hossain entered the jail.
It was Mollah’s sentence — life-term imprisonment — on February 5 which triggered a youth upsurge in the capital, known popularly as Shahbagh Movement, that later spread across the country.
For weeks, Shahbagh youths continued their movement to press home the demand of execution of war criminals, forcing the government to bring an amendment to the International Crimes Tribunal law, which is the basis for the special tribunal trying the accused of war crimes committed 42 years ago.
The state on March 3 appealed with the SC against the life-term ruling, terming it “inadequate” and seeking the death penalty for his wartime offences.
On September 17, a five-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain revised the verdict, sentencing Mollah to death.
After the full text of the verdict was released, ICT-2 issued death warrant for the Jamaat leader on December 8.
As the Dhaka jail authorities were preparing to hang him Tuesday, Mollah’s counsels rushed to Chamber Judge and got a stay on the execution till 10:30am the next day, saying that they would seek a review of the death sentence.
Sitting the next day, the full bench of Appellate Division received two review petitions — one challenging the death sentence, the other life-term awarded to Mollah in connection with the six war crimes charges levelled against him.
Resuming the day’s hearing today, the bench, headed by Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain, dismissed both the petitions, clearing the way for executing the Jamaat leader.