Bangladesh’s Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a final appeal by the leader of the top Islamist party against a death sentence for atrocities committed during the 1971 war of independence, lawyers said, meaning he could be hanged at any time.
The Supreme Court in January upheld the death penalty for Motiur Rahman Nizami, head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, for genocide, rape and orchestrating the massacre of top intellectuals during the 1971 war.
Nizami, 73, a former legislator and minister under Khaleda Zia when she was prime minister, has been in jail since 2010, when he was charged with war crimes by a tribunal set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that year.
The war crimes tribunal has sparked violence and drawn criticism from opposition politicians, including leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, that it is victimizing Hasina’s political opponents.
“All the legal battles are over,” Nizami’s lawyer, Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, told reporters. “Now it is up to him, whether he will seek clemency from the president, or not.”
Hundreds of people flooded the streets of the capital, Dhaka, to cheer the verdict, but there has been no report of violence, although Jamaat called a nationwide strike for Sunday in protest.