Bangladesh journalist and war veteran Shahriar Kabir said on Tuesday that the country has set an example for other nations by executing Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah for war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.
The decision to hang Mollah, a senior figure in the Jamaat-e-Islami party, which is a key part of the opposition coalition, drew widespread condemnation from political allies and international human rights groups.
But many citizens celebrated the first ever execution of a Bangladesh war criminal, which took place late on December 12 at the Dhaka Central Jail.
Kabir, while talking to a reporter in Dhaka, said: “Many victims of the war, many victims of the genocide, they are waiting for justice, waiting for trial of the perpetrators of genocide and Bangladesh has set up an example. Through this trial Bangladesh has given a clear message that any country can try their perpetrators of genocide with its own law in the domestic tribunal.
Mollah, dubbed as the "Butcher of Mirpur" in Bangladesh for his part in hundreds of killings 42 years ago, was buried in the early hours of December 13 in his home village in the southern Faridpur District.
Hailing Mollah’s execution, Kabir said: “Through the implementation of the capital punishment of Quader Mollah, one of the main perpetrators of genocide of 1971, Bangladesh has come out from the culture of impunity.
Mollah's execution has worsened tensions that were already running high, threatening to cripple Bangladesh's economy, notably its USD 22-billion garment industry.
There has been almost daily unrest in the impoverished nation of 160 million people since last month's announcement of parliamentary elections on January 5
Commenting on the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami, Kabir said that the members of the party should be tried for committing genocide in 1971
“Now, we are asking government Jamaat-e-Islami should be tried for committing genocide in 1971. It’s a party of the killers; it’s a party of the perpetrators of the genocide that’s why Jamaat-e-Islami should be banned,” Kabir added
A Bangladesh court in August had declared Jamaat-e-Islami as illegal, effectively banning it from a general election due early next year
The ruling that the registration of Jamaat as a political party conflicted with the country's secular constitution immediately triggered violent protests by party supporters
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her ruling Awami League are determined to go ahead with the vote, but the opposition, led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) head Begum Khaleda Zia, says it will not participate unless an interim government is installed and Hasina steps down.