Death-row tycoon in Bangladesh

Death-row tycoon in Bangladesh

Death-row tycoon in Bangladesh DHAKA: A wealthy tycoon who was a chief financier for Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party refused on Friday to seek presidential clemency against his death sentence, an official said, paving the way for his imminent execution by hanging.

Mir Quasem Ali, a key leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami, was sentenced to death by a controversial war crimes tribunal for offences committed during the 1971 conflict.

After the Supreme Court rejected his final appeal on Tuesday against the penalty, Ali declined to seek a presidential pardon, which requires an admission of guilt.

Five opposition leaders have been executed for war crimes since 2013

“Today (Friday) he announced his decision that he won’t seek mercy from the president,” said Prasanta Kumar Bonik, a senior official at the Kashimpur high security jail where Ali is imprisoned.

“The authorities will now decide when and where he will be executed,” he said.

The Supreme Court’s decision was a major blow for the Jamaat-i-Islami, which the 63-year-old Ali had helped to revive in recent decades.

Security has been stepped up at the prison, located some 40 kilometres north of Dhaka, after Ali announced his decision, local police chief Harun-or-Rashid said.

Five opposition leaders including four leading Islamists have been executed for war crimes since 2013, all of them hanged just days after their appeals were rejected by the Supreme Court.

Their families said they had refused to seek a presidential pardon as they did not want to legitimise the trials process.

Ali, who after the war became a shipping and real estate tycoon, was convicted in November 2014 of a series of crimes during the war, including the abduction and murder of a young independence fighter.

His son Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem, who was part of his legal defence team, was allegedly abducted by security forces earlier in August, which critics say was an attempt to sow fear and prevent protests against the imminent execution.


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