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Bangladesh hangs Islamist leader for 1971 atrocities

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DHAKA — Bangladesh has executed a top Islamist leader for crimes committed during the war of independence from Pakistan in 1971, the law minister said, a punishment that risked provoking an angry reaction from his supporters.

Motiur Rahman Nizami, 73, a former lawmaker and minister, was hanged at 12.01am local time at Dhaka Central jail at one minute past midnight local time on Wednesday.

Nizami was hanged after the Supreme Court rejected his final plea against a death sentence imposed by a special tribunal for genocide, rape and orchestrating the massacre of top intellectuals during the war. He had refused to seek presidential clemency.

Nizami led Bangladesh’s biggest Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami. Previous executions of party leaders have sparked violent protests.

He was convicted of genocide, rape and torture; charges the defence said were not proven beyond reasonable doubt.

About 3 million people were killed, the government says, and thousands of women were raped during the 1971 war in which some factions, including the Jamaat-e-Islami, opposed the break from what was then called West Pakistan. The party denies that its leaders committed any atrocities

Thousands of extra police and border guards were deployed in the capital Dhaka and other major cities to tighten security as Jamaat-e-Islami called for a nationwide strike on Thursday in protest of the execution.

Security was tightened across the country ahead of the execution. Supporters of Nizami protested outside Dhaka’s Central prison, where the sentence was carried out.

Nizami was the fourth leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party to have been executed since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina set up a war crimes tribunal to look into abuses during the independence war.

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Nirmala Panta’s murder accused held after 24 days

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KANCHANPUR — Police in Kanchanpur have made public an accused arrested in connection with the murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta of Kanchanpur’s Bhimdatta Municipality.

Dilip Singh Bista, 41, of Baghphanta, Bhimdatta Municipality was made public at a press conference at the DPO. Bista was arrested on Saturday,according to the District Police Office Spokesperson Deputy Superintendent of Police Gyan Bahadur Sethi.

Nirmala was found dead in a sugarcane field on July 27, a day after she had gone to her friend’s home to get a notebook.

Bista,who was released from prison last year after serving nine years for murdering his brother-in-law Narayansingh Thapa, works as a daily-wage labourer.

According to Bista’s statement to police, he helped Nirmala fix her bicycle chain before raping and killing her on July 26. He told police that killed her to avoid being arrested again.

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