Hasina Wajed is determined to push Bangladesh into civil war. The hasty manner in which Jamaat-e Islami leader Abdul Qauder Molla was executed by hanging within hours of the Supreme Court rejecting his appeal to review his death sentence shows the vindictiveness of the current prime minister. Violent protests erupted in many cities across the country. Bangladesh is heading for more turmoil as polarization deepens.
December 12, 2013, 18:03 EST
Within hours of the Supreme Court rejecting appeal for review of his death sentence, Abdul Qauder Molla, a top leader of the Jamaat-e Islami in Bangladesh was hanged to death today. The execution was carried out at 10:01 pm local time.
As soon as the country’s Deputy Law Minister Quamrul Islam announced the hanging, violence erupted in different cities. The country has been on boil for weeks amid rising political tensions over the incumbent Prime Minister Hasina Wajed’s refusal to hold next month’s elections under a neutral caretaker government. The opposition does not trust her.
Molla’s execution, who was 65, will add to this explosive mix. While the Jamaat-e Islami has been officially banned, its members and cadres continue to wield political influence. The party is aligned with the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) headed by Begum Khalida Zia, widow of a former president, General Ziaur Rahman.
Wajed is the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who led the separatist movement from Pakistan to create Bangladesh with Indian military help. Mujib was killed on August 15, 1975 by irate military officers over his total subservience to India.
The military coup plotters were executed in 2010.
Abdul Qauder Molla was accused of supporting the Pakistan army during the 1971 mutiny led by Mujib that led to the Indian army invading East Pakistan in November. He was also accused of killing Bengalis and raping women, both charges he strongly denied.
Support for the Pakistan army could not be considered a crime since Bangladesh had not come into existence and East Pakistan was part of Pakistan at the time. Further, the separatist movement, had it failed would have led to the trial and execution of many of its leaders who currently occupy the seat of power.
Wajed is on a personal vendetta against those that had opposed her father’s secessionist movement. The execution of Molla is part of this policy.
His wife and children were allowed a final meeting with him at the prison hours before he was executed, and found him to be “calm,” according to his son Hasan Jamil.
“He told us that he is proud to be a martyr for the cause of the Islamic movement in the country,” Jamil said after the final meeting with his father.
A large police contingent took the body to Molla’s home village for burial but the family was denied permission to travel with the body.
The Jamaat-e Islami denounced the execution a “political murder” and warned it would exact revenge for “every drop” of Molla's blood.
Bangladesh is deeply divided today. While Islamic groups and the opposition protested the execution, there was also a pro-execution rally organized by secularists, among them many Hindus that exercise considerable influence in the overwhelmingly Muslim country.
Such polarization will have negative consequences for the country.
Human rights organizations decried the so-called International Crimes Tribunal that initially tried Molla, calling it deeply flawed and falling short of international standards. In a further twist, the Bangladesh Supreme Court turned the life sentence handed down by the tribunal in February into a death sentence after a law was passed that was applied to Molla’s case retroactively.
Many legal experts denounced this as “judicial murder.”