Two senior opposition political leaders, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Mohammad Mojaheed, were hanged for crimes against humanity at the Dhaka Central Central Jail minutes past Saturday midnight.
The execution was carried out after their mercy petitions were rejected by the president in the same evening, different agencies and TV channels reported.
Salauddin Quader Chowhdury who emerged as a Muslim League parliamentarian in the 1979 elections had in his career joined the Jatiya Party government under the HM Ershad government and agains contested with Muslim League ticket in 1991.
He was with the anti-Bnp government movment of the mid 1990s and reelected in 1996 with ML ticket. Subsequently he served as the adviser of parliamentary affairs to the Prime Minister Khaleda Zia during 2001 – 2006. Mr. Chowdhury was a member of the standing committee of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) until his death.
Chowdhury served as a member of the parliament for seven terms, starting from 1979, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2008.
Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, secretary general of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, served as a minister during the BNP-led four-party alliance government’s rule between 2001 and 2006.
BNP standing committee member Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Jamaat-e-Islami secretary charge of crimes against humanity in the liberation war of 1971.
They were the two most high-profile war crimes convicts who walked to the gallows.
Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was a minister during the HM Ershad’s regime, parliamentary affairs adviser to the then prime minister of the BNP government Khaleda Zia and, of late, standing committee member of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
With them, four war crimes convicts were hanged after the International Crimes Tribunal, a specialised court set up during the last tenure of ruling Awami League, awarded them capital punishment for crimes committed during the country’s war of liberation in 1971.
Jamaat assistant secretary general Abdul Kader Molla on 12 December 2013 and another assistant secretary general Muhammad Kamaruzzaman was executed on 11 April 2015.
Their death penalties were executed inside the Dhaka central jail between 12:15am and 12:45am on Sunday after controversies over presidential clemency, said additional Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner Sheikh Maruf Hasan.
The government said Salauddin and Mojaheed filed mercy petitions, a claim that their families denied. Bangabhaban sources said the president rejected the reported clemency pleas.
Earlier between 9:15pm and 11:45pm Saturday, members of the families of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed had their final meetings with them in the jail before their execution.
Following an arrest warrant on charge of hurting religious sentiment, on 16 December 2010, the police arrested Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and he was shown arrested later on 19 December 2010 in the cases relating to the crimes against humanity.
The ICT lodged war crimes case against Salauddin Quader Chowdhury earlier on 26 July 2010,.
On 1 October 2013, the then International Crimes Tribunal-1 sentenced the BNP leader to death as he was found guilty of nine out of 23 charges brought against him. On 29 October 2013, the BNP leader appealed against the ICT verdict.
On 17 July 2013, the then International Crimes Tribunal-2 gave death sentence to Jamaat leader Mojaheed as he was found guilty of five out of seven charges. On 21 June 2012, the tribunal indicted Mojaheed on seven charges. He was arrested on 29 June 2010.
The main opposition Bnp said after the rejection of the review petitions of the two convicts that Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was denied justice. The Bnp has so long maintained silence about the war crimes verdicts but insisted that those in the ruling parties who are allegedly associated with war crimes should also be tried instead of targetting on leaders of the opposition.
International human rights watchdog the Human Rights Watch had earlier on Friday demanded halting of execution of the death sentences of Salauddin and Mojaheed. – News Desk