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Abdul Quader Mollah, who was a senior leader of Jamaat-e-Islami party, was hanged on Thursday after being convicted of war crimes in connection with the 1971 war of independence.
Mollah was originally set to be executed on Tuesday, but was given a last-minute appeal, which was then dismissed by the Bangladeshi Supreme Court on Thursday. The Islamist leader was the first to be executed by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), according to BBC News.
The ICT was established in 2010 to look into the atrocities committed during the 1971 conflict with Pakistan. It is believed that nearly three million people died during the war. In addition to Mollah, other leading members of the Jamaat-e-Islami party have been convicted.
The hanging of Mollah takes place only about a month away from elections and could potentially ignite violent protests, reports Reuters. Five people, possibly more, were killed when activists clashed Thursday morning when Mollah's last appeal was denied.
Despite that, hundreds gathered in the capital Dhaka to celebrate Mollah's hanging. University student Afzal Hossain commented, "Justice has been served, though we had to wait 42 years."
Human rights groups though don't believe that Mollah received a fair trial or should have been hanged. "The execution of ... Mollah should never have happened," Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International's Bangladesh researcher, said."The country is on a razor's edge... with pre-election tensions running high and almost non-stop street protests."
image: Wikimedia Commons