Bangladesh hangs top Jamaat leader Mollah over 1971 war crimes
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Senior fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah was executed Thursday night for genocide during Bangladesh's 1971 liberation war, making him the first politician to be hanged for such crimes.
"He has been executed at 10.01 pm (9.31 pm IST)," an official told reporters outside Dhaka Central Jail.
Mollah's body was kept hanging for 20 minutes before it was brought down, Dhaka's Deputy Commissioner Sheikh Yususf Mreedha said.
The 65-year-old Mollah was notorious as the "Butcher of Mirpur" for atrocities like rape and the killing of women and children perpetrated in a suburb of Dhaka during the war of independence from Pakistan.
Tight security was put in place around the prison complex as the execution was carried out shortly after Mollah's family saw him for the last time. Earlier reports had suggested the execution would take place after midnight.
Jail sources said 60-year-old prisoner Shahjahan Mian carried out the execution as the chief hangman, with assistance from five other prisoners serving long sentences.
TV channels showed an ambulance entering the jail after its huge iron gates were opened, presumably to carry Mollah's body to his village in western Faridpur.
Dhaka's district magistrate, civil surgeon and prison officials witnessed the execution in line with rules while an Islamic cleric administered a special prayer when Mollah sought God's mercy while taking his last bath.
The Paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and riot police formed a three-tier security blanket as the Jamaat had earlier warned of dire consequence if its assistant secretary general was executed.
Jamaat has called Mollah's hanging a "political murder" and warned of exacting revenge for "every drop" of his blood. The party immediately called a nationwide general strike on Sunday.
Witnesses said Mollah's two sons, four daughters and wife were his last visitors around 6:25pm.
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