Bangladesh top court upholds death sentence of war criminal


DHAKA (TIP): Bangladesh’s top court on August 31 rejected a final appeal by the leader of an Islamist party against a death sentence over atrocities committed during the 1971 war of independence, lawyers said, meaning he could be hanged at any time.

The verdict comes as the Muslim-majority nation suffers a series of militant attacks, the most serious on July 1, when gunmen stormed a cafe in the capital, Dhaka, and killed 20 hostages, most of them foreigners.

In March, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for Mir Quasem Ali, 63, a media tycoon and key financier of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, for murder, confinement, torture and incitement to religious hatred during the war to separate from Pakistan. The war crimes tribunal set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010 has sparked violence and drawn criticism from opposition politicians, including leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami, who say it is victimising her political opponents.