War criminal and Jamaat leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman's death sentence has been executed at 10:30pm on Saturday night.
Inspector General (IG) of Prisons Brig Gen Syed Iftekhar Uddin told Observer Online.
Kamaruzzaman, the third most senior figure in the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was convicted of abduction, torture and mass murder as one of the leaders of a pro-Pakistan militia that killed thousands of people.
An ambulance carrying Kamaruzzaman's body left the jail for his home village in northern Bangladesh more than an hour after the execution, jailor Farman Ali told reporters, adding that the vehicle was escorted by a convoy of elite security officers.
Jamaat-e-Islami called a a countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal for Monday for what its said planned killing of its leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman.
Hundreds of secular supporters burst into cheers and made victory signs as news of the hanging was announced in central Dhaka, where they gathered to celebrate the death of a man they called a "war butcher".
War criminal Kamaruzzaman's conviction was executed as he opted not to seek Presidential clemency as the Supreme Court had earlier dismissed his appeal to review death sentence.
The executive order on his execution reached the jail about 2.50 pm today and later it was read out to him.
Jail Imam Hafez Moulana Monir administered "Towba" to Kamaruzzaman in presence of Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Dhaka Tofazzal Hossain Miah and magistrates.
UNB said, Officials concerned headed towards the gallows along with Kamaruzzaman from the jail super’s office at 10:17pm. Earlier, he was given a bath and ablution.
Prisoner Raju was the hangman and he was assisted by three other prisoners -- Paltu, Jasim and Sattar.
Kamaruzzaman, 62, was hanged in presence of Dhaka Deputy Commissioner Tofazzal Hossain Mia, Civil Surgeon Dr Abdul Malek Mridha and central jail mosque Imam Monir Hossain and additional district magistrate Shahidul Islam amid tight security in and around the jail, said a prison official.
Imam Monir Hossain offered Kamaruzzaman tawbah (repentance) before the hanging.
On completion of all formalities at the Dhaka Central Jail, a hearse carrying the body of the executed war criminal left the jail gate at 11:38 pm.
Escorted by law enforcers, the ambulance started for Sadar upazila of Sherpur where Kamaruzzaman will be buried at his native village.
While talking to reporters in front of the jail gate, senior jail super of Dhaka Forman Ali said Kamaruzzman was executed at 10:30pm at the executive order of the government.
He also said the Jamaat leader did not seek presidential clemency.
On completion of all formalities, the body was being sent to his native village for burial under protection of police and Rapid Action Battalion members, the senior jail super said.
Amid various speculations and international pressure, the Jamaat leader’s execution came five days after the Supreme Court cleared all the legal barriers to hang him by rejecting his review appeal against its earlier verdict on April 6.
Jail sources said they took five days to complete all the necessary procedures to hang the war criminal.
This is the second execution in the war crimes cases after another Jamaat leader Quader Mollah was hanged on December 12, 2013 also for his crimes committed against humanity in 1971.
Jail sources said Kamaruzzaman’s body will be handed over to his family members for burial at his village home in Sherpur district.
The Jamaat leader’s brother, M Kafil Uddin, said Kamaruzzaman will be buried in front of Bajitkhila-Kumri Orphanage he set up alongside Bajitkhila-Gazir Khamar road in Bajirkhila union of Sadar upazila.
Meanwhile, local freedom fighters retreated from their stance on resisting the burial of the war criminal in Sherpur after his execution. Instead, they at an emergency meeting on Saturday evening decided to bring out a victory procession in the district town on Sunday.
Earlier in the afternoon, the 21 family members of the convicted war criminal met him at the Dhaka Central Jail for the last time.
Kamaruzzaman’s family members, including his wife, sons and daughter, entered the jail around 4 pm and came out of it at 5:20pm.
Emerging from the jail, Hasan Iqbal, elder son of Kamaruzzman, said, “My father was 18 years’ old during the Liberation War but allegations were brought against him. The new generation will give answer to it.”
Quoting his father, Iqbal further said his father did not seek presidential clemency and he had no talk with any magistrate. “The President is none to give or take life. Only Allah can give or take life, if I seek mercy then I’ll seek it from Allah. The government has staged a drama for making their road clear,” Kamaruzzaman was quoted by his son Iqbal as saying.
Earlier, the jail authorities made a phone call to the family of Jamaat senior assistant secretary general Kamaruzzaman around 1:22 pm and asked them to meet him in jail in between 4pm and 5 pm today.
On Friday, two magistrates met Kamaruzzaman in jail to know about his decision on seeking presidential clemency.
State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said Kamaruzzaman did not seek presidential clemency. “The jail authorities wanted to know from Kamaruzzaman on Friday whether he would seek mercy from the president, but he replied in the negative,” Kamal said.
On April 6, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court rejected Jamaat senior assistant secretary general M Kamaruzzaman's review petition against its previous verdict upholding death penalty handed down by the International Crimes Tribunal-2 for his war crimes.
A four-member bench of the Appellate Division, headed by Chief Justice SK Sinha, dismissed the review petition.
Dhaka Central Jail authorities on Wednesday afternoon received the copy of the Supreme Court verdict rejecting the review plea sought by Kamaruzzaman. Later, it was read out to him.
On May 9, 2013, the tribunal condemned Jamaat leader M Kamaruzzaman, a 1971 operator of infamous Al Badr vigilante outfit, to death for his crimes against humanity, including murder, abduction, torture, rape and mass killing during the Liberation War.
On November 3 last year, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict of the International Crimes Tribunal-2 that had condemned the Jamaat leader to death.
On February 18, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 issued a death warrant for Kamaruzzaman after receiving the full text of the Supreme Court verdict that upheld his death penalty for his crimes against humanity during 1971.
On the same day, the prison authorities read out the death warrant to Kamaruzzaman.