Bangladesh hangs two opposition leaders for war crimes

Jamaat called a nationwide strike on Thursday, declaring Mujahid’s original trial “farcical” and “aimed at eliminating” the party’s leadership.

Leading Bangladeshi newspapers and television networks hailed the executions, with Samakal and Prothom Alo newspapers publishing reports in support of the trials and capital punishments. Soon after the execution, ambulances escorted by elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and armed police came out of the prison complex carrying the bodies. A reporter sustained injuries and was rushed to hospital, while three others escaped unhurt.

Supporters of the ruling Awami League meanwhile greeted their executions by holding street parties and doling out candies to children.

It was not immediately clear who attacked the auto.

The United States sharpened its criticism of Bangladesh’s tribunal on war crimes after the death sentences were upheld by the Supreme Court.

Bangladeshi activists celebrate execution of Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid. The families denied that the two men asked for mercy, according to a spokesman.

The 67-year-old Mujahid was sentenced to death for war crimes such as the killing of the country’s top intellectuals.

“It (Pakistan reaction) is not acceptable”, Hasina said, a day after Islamabad issued a statement expressing its deep anguish overthe executions of two top opposition leaders for crimes against humanity.

Mujahid was the secretary-general of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Bangladesh accuses the Pakistani army and local collaborators of killing up to three million people and decimating entire villages during the 1971 war.

Mujahid was a senior leader of Bangladesh’s largest Islamic party and Chowdhury had been elected a member of parliament six times. The two men were the first war crimes convicts to seek presidential clemency.

Bilateral relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh received another blow when the Bangladeshi government summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner Shuja Alam and lodged strong protest over the statement made by the Pakistani Foreign Office, calling it interference in the internal matters of Bangladesh.

Muslim-majority Bangladesh has seen a rise in Islamist violence in recent months, with two foreigners and four secular writers and a publisher killed this year.

The JI chief said that successive governments had mortgaged the country with the World Bank and other global financial institutions.

Bangladesh’s government has reiterated that the war crimes trials are necessary to bring murderers to justice.