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DHAKA, Bangladesh — The head of Bangladesh's largest Islamist party was executed early Wednesday for his role in acts of genocide and war crimes during the country's independence war against Pakistan in 1971, a senior government official said.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said Motiur Rahman Nizami, leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was hung at 12:10 a.m. Wednesday inside Dhaka central jail amid tight security.
Nizami had sought a review of his death sentence, but the country's Supreme Court upheld his punishment. Nizami was convicted of three major charges stemming from the 1971 war — including the killings of 480 people. He was also held responsible for the killings of dozens of intellectuals, including teachers, journalists and doctors, just two days before Bangladesh gained its independence in 1971.
Nizami is the fifth senior official from opposition parties to be executed since 2013 for war crimes carried out during the 1971 war. Three other senior members of Nizami's Jamaat-e-Islami party and a top leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia were also hanged.
Bangladeshi authorities say Pakistani soldiers aided by local collaborators killed 3 million people, raped 200,000 women, and forced some 10 million people to flee the country during the nine-month war in what was then known as East Pakistan, renamed Bangladesh after independence.