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Bangladesh High Court rejects Islamist Leader Mir Quasem Ali’s final appeal in 1971 War of Liberation Crime Case

Bangladesh says local collaborators and Pakistani soldiers killed 3 million people during the fight for independence, which Jamaat-e-Islami opposed

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1971 Bangladesh Pakistan War. Image source: defence.pk
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Bangladesh, August 30: Bangladesh’s highest court has rejected a final appeal by a senior Islamist leader, clearing the way for his execution for war crimes committed during the country’s 1971 war for independence with Pakistan.

The decision against Mir Quasem Ali leaves an appeal for presidential clemency as the only barrier to a death sentence first handed down in 2014.

The 63-year-old Ali is a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party and was convicted on eight charges that included the abduction of a young man and his killing in a torture cell.

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Bangladesh says local collaborators and Pakistani soldiers killed 3 million people during the fight for independence, which Jamaat-e-Islami opposed.

Jamaat-e-Islami party flag. Source : Wikimedia Commons
Jamaat-e-Islami party flag.
Source : Wikimedia Commons

Several other Islamist leaders have already been executed for war crimes. Jamaat-e-Islami and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party have criticised the government’s war crimes tribunal as politically motivated.

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A group of U.N. human rights experts called last week for the high court to give Ali a new trial “in compliance with international standards.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry referenced human rights criticisms in Bangladesh in a speech Monday in Dhaka, saying “we have to uphold and not betray” democratic principles in the fight against extremism. (IANS)

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UN Agencies and Bangladesh Government Advances to Prevent Further Deforestation

Dillon says disappearing forests are putting great pressure on the animals in the region.

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A deforested section of the Chakmakul camp for Rohingya refugees clings to a hillside in southern Bangladesh, Feb. 13, 2018. VOA

U.N. agencies and the Bangladesh government have begun distributing liquid petroleum gas stoves in Cox’s Bazar to help prevent further deforestation, which has been accelerating with the huge influx of Rohingya refugees during the past year.

Cox’s Bazar is home to large areas of protected forest and an important wildlife habitat. The arrival of more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees fleeing violence and persecution in Myanmar has put enormous pressure on these precious resources.

U.N. Migration Agency spokesman, Paul Dillon tells VOA, the refugees have been cutting down the trees and clearing land to build makeshift shelters. He says they and many local villagers also rely almost exclusively on firewood to cook their meals.

“Consequently, the forests in that area are being denuded at the rate of roughly four football fields every single day. We are told by the experts at this rate, by 2019 there will be no further forests in that area,” he said.

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Deforestation

Scientists note deforestation has devastating consequences for the environment leading to soil erosion, fewer crops, increased flooding and, most significantly, the loss of habitat for millions of species.

Dillon says disappearing forests are putting great pressure on the animals in the region.

“It interrupts migration pathways and regrettably forces these, sort of, artificial confrontations between animals in the wild and communities as they move into areas that have been logged out often-times in search of arable farmland and that type of thing,” he said.

Also Read: First Satellite Launched by Bangladesh

The project aims to distribute liquid petroleum gas stoves and gas cylinders to around 250,000 families over the coming months. U.N. agencies say the stoves will have additional benefits besides helping to prevent deforestation.

For example, they note smoke from firewood burned in homes and shelters without proper ventilation causes many health problems, especially among women and children who spend much of their time indoors. (VOA)