Bangladesh's largest Islamist party has called a non-stop 48-hour national strike after the country's apex court Monday morning upheld its previous verdict on its leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, rejecting his plea for reviewing death penalty for crimes against humanity during the country's war of independence in 1971.
Shortly after the Appellate Division bench of Bangladesh Supreme Court (SC) dismissed the review petition of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party's Assistant Secretary General Kamaruzzaman who is now behind the bar, it called the 48-hour nationwide hartal for April 7 and 8, protesting what it referred to as "the government hatching conspiracy to kill its leaders."
Jamaat pleaded Kamaruzzaman's innocence and claimed that he had no links with war crimes in 1971 when he was a high school student.
In the statement it also demand release of Kamaruzzaman.
Sources said there is no legal bar for the state machinery to execute Kamaruzzaman anytime following the dismissal if he is reluctant to seek mercy from the president.
His counsel Shishir Munir had earlier told journalists that Kamaruzzaman will not seek mercy from president.
Kamaruzzaman was indicted in June 2012 with seven charges of crimes against humanity including looting, mass killings, arson, rape and forcefully converting people into Muslims during the war.
Bangladesh's war crimes tribunal found the Jamaat leader guilty of collaborating with Pakistani forces and committing war crimes including mass killings.
Bangladesh on Dec. 12, 2013 executed Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla, convicted of war crimes in 1971.
The death sentence of the war crimes accused Molla, assistant secretary general of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami Party, was executed hours after the Appellate Division dismissed his plea to review the SC verdict that confirmed the capital punishment on Sept. 17 in 2013.
Muslim-majority Bangladesh was called East Pakistan until 1971. The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said about 3 million people were killed in the war although independent researchers think that between 300,000 and 500,000 died.
After returning to power in January 2009, Hasina, the daughter of Bangladesh's independence hero Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, established the first tribunal in March 2010, almost forty years after the 1971 fight for independence from Pakistan, to castigate those committed crimes against humanity during the nine-month war.