The witnesses and wartime victims of the Jamaat-e-Islami leader, who led al-Badr Bahini – a local affiliation of Pakistan occupational forces in 1971, demanded speedy execution of the death penalty after the Supreme Court rejected his review petition on August 30.
They said Mir Quasem’s son, Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem, a barrister at the Supreme Court, tried to buy them off to prevent them from testifying against his father.
His family has a lot of money which they did not hesitate to use to save him, they said.
But Mir Quasem must face the consequences of the crimes he committed during the war, or the sacrifices of the Liberation War martyrs would have been in vain, they said.
In an immediate reaction after the review rejection verdict, freedom fighter and journalist Nasir Uddin Chowdhury said: “I am relieved to see the death penalty being executed. Mir Quesem thought money could buy everything for him. He offered the witnesses money, and threatened to kill them when they refused to take it. We put up with a lot to see this day.”
Freedom fighter Jahangir Chowdhury was one of the witnesses in the case – he was held captive at Dalim Hotel in Chittagong, one of the torture cells set up by Mir Quasem’s al-Badr Bahini during the war.
“They [al-Badr] tortured me physically and mentally for 23 days. My hands were tied behind, I was blindfolded. There were days when I ate only a piece of dried orange peel. So today is the day that will put an end to my sufferings that I have been carrying since the war,” he said, adding that he wished his mother and brother had been alive today to see Mir Quasem’s execution.
Another witness, Mridul Dey, said: “All of Chittagong is waiting to be absolved of the stigma Mir Quasem brought upon the city. We suffered in silence to see the day when we would get justice. I am not sure if one death sentence is enough for someone like Mir Quasem. For the crimes that he committed during the war, he deserves to be hanged several times.”