Bangladesh clears way for execution of Islamist leader
SHOTLIST: DHAKA, BANGLADESH, DECEMBER, 12 , 2013 (SOURCE: AFP) - GV court - Police stand guard at court - VAR Bangladeshi activists celebrating following the dismissal of Abdul Quader Molla's appeal /// -------------------------------------- AFP TEXT Bangladesh court clears the way for execution of top Islamist / Dhaka (Bangladesh) - 12 December 2013 16:57 - AFP (Kamrul Hasan Khan) - 2NDLEAD Bangladesh's top court cleared the way Thursday for the execution of a senior Islamist leader charged with war crimes, just two days after he was given a dramatic last-minute reprieve from hanging. Chief Justice Muzammel Hossain "dismissed" Abdul Quader Molla's appeal for a final review of his death sentence, removing his last legal option against execution, which could now be carried out as early as midnight Thursday. "There is now no legal bar to execute him," Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told AFP in the Supreme Court after the decision. Molla had been set on Tuesday night to become the first person put to death for massacres committed during Bangladesh's 1971 independence war, following a series of verdicts by a special war crimes court that have sparked deadly protests. But a judge stayed the hanging of Molla, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, just 90 minutes before his scheduled execution at a jail in Dhaka, amid international concern over the fairness of his and other trials held for alleged war crimes. A key opposition official, Molla, 65, was found to have been a leader of a pro-Pakistan militia which fought against the country's independence and killed some of Bangladesh's top professors, doctors, writers and journalists. Molla was convicted of rape, murder and mass murder, including the killing of more than 350 unarmed Bengali civilians. Since Wednesday, the Supreme Court has heard an appeal on whether Molla could seek a review of the death sentence, with his lawyers arguing that he had "a constitutional right" to do so. However Attorney General Alam told the court that there was "no scope for a review in war crimes cases". Hundreds of secular protesters who have been massing at Shahbagh square in the capital since Tuesday night erupted in celebration at hearing the latest court decision, shouting slogans that called for the execution of all war criminals. His lawyers had protested the verdict, saying the death penalty was awarded based on evidence given by only one prosecution witness, who had also earlier given two different versions of the same event. "We're unhappy. He did not get justice," defence lawyer Khandaker Mahbub Hossain told reporters outside the court. Molla is one of five Islamist leaders and politicians sentenced to death by the war crimes court, sparking protests in the volatile country between police and government and opposition supporters, who claim the trials are a witch hunt against their leaders. Some 231 people have been killed in the street protests since January when the verdicts were first handed down. Two opposition supporters were the latest killed Thursday, both shot dead following clashes in the southern town of Laxmipur. New York-based Human Rights Watch and two UN Special Rapporteurs have warned that by executing Molla without the death sentence being reviewed, the country could be breaking international law. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also wrote to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina seeking an eleventh-hour stay of the execution, saying the trial did not meet stringent international standards for imposition of the death penalty. But deputy law minister Quamrul Islam rejected the criticism on Thursday, saying "did they stop the execution of Saddam Hussein?" "What logic do they have to stop the (Molla's) execution?" Islam told AFP. Three other Jamaat leaders and one main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party lawmaker have also been sentenced to death for atrocities during the war. Hasina's government says three million people died in the war, many at the hands of pro-Pakistan militias led by Jamaat leaders who opposed secession from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on religious grounds. Independent researchers put the death toll between 300,000 and 500,000 people. Bangladesh regularly carries out the death sentence by hanging. But Molla's death would be the most high-profile execution since January 2010, when five ex-army officers were put to death over the assassination of the nation's founding leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Hasina's father.
Presidents of the United States of America - Presidents of the United States of America
Tune in on Wednesday, August 27th to watch The Presidents of the United States of America perform LIVE from Slims, in San Francisco, California. Catch a new LIVE concert from Live Nation, on Yahoo Live daily, 365 days a year.
British English Explained By Americans
“I read Harry Potter, I watch James Bond, I follow Kate Middleton and I’ve barely scratched the surface.”
SELF Cover Shoots - Go Behind the Scenes with Maria Sharapova's Cover Shoot
Tennis star Maria Sharapova is a fierce competitor on the court, a knockout on the red carpet and an incredibly savvy businesswoman. See her behind the scenes at her SELF photo shoot!
Tony Bennett - I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Studio Video)
Music video by Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga performing I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Studio Video). (C) 2014 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment /Interscope Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.
'The Congress' Clip: Animation Zone
Justin Timberlake World Tour - Mirrors - Live in Reykjavik
Mirrors - Live in Reykjavik
Feed Me - Feed Me LIVE Concert
Tune in on Tuesday, August 26th to watch Feed Me perform LIVE from the Boulder Theater, in Boulder, Colorado. Catch a new LIVE concert from Live Nation, on Yahoo Live daily, 365 days a year.
Improv Imagination - What is Ghostbusters' Janine Hunting These Days?
Actress Annie Potts imagines a future for her character, sassy secretary Janine Melnitz, in the 1984 film Ghostbusters, one that consists of singing Cyndi Lauper covers on cruise ships and owning 17 cats.
'The One I Love' Trailer
The One I Love