Muhammad Kamaruzzaman

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Muhammad Kamaruzzaman
মুহাম্মদ কামারুজ্জামান
Muhammad Kamaruzzaman.jpg
Born(1952-07-04)4 July 1952
Died11 April 2015(2015-04-11) (aged 62)
Cause of deathExecution by hanging
Alma materDhaka University (MA)
Occupation(s)Politician, journalist
Political partyBangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami
Criminal statusExecuted
SpouseNurun Nahar
Conviction(s)Crimes against humanity
Criminal penaltyDeath

Muhammad Kamaruzzaman (4 July 1952 – 11 April 2015) was a Bangladeshi politician and journalist who served as the senior assistant secretary general of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and was convicted of war crimes during the 1971 Liberation war of Bangladesh.[1][2] He was executed by hanging at Dhaka Central Jail at 22:01 on 11 April 2015.[3]

Besides his political career, Kamaruzzaman also was the editor of the Weekly Sonar Bangla.[4] On 9 May 2013 the International Crimes Tribunal sentenced him to death after it found Kamaruzzaman guilty of crimes against humanity including genocide, killing, rape, looting, arson, and deportation of people during the Bangladesh Liberation War.[5] Kamaruzzaman denied all charges, stating they were politically motivated.[6][7] The trial itself was criticized by international observers and opposition figures and was mired in controversies.[8][9]

Early life[edit]

Kamaruzzaman was born on 4 July 1952, at Sajbarkhila village in Sherpur Thana, Bangladesh (at the time East Bengal, Dominion of Pakistan). His father Moulavi Insan Ali Sarker, was a businessman. Kamaruzzaman obtained a master's degree in journalism in 1976 from Dhaka University. He had five sons. He was married to Nurun Nahar.[5]

Political career[edit]

In 1971[edit]

In 1971, Kamruzzaman was a college student.[7] He is also alleged to be member of the Islami Chattra Sangha in Mymensingh.[1][10][11][12][13] He was the chief organizer of the Al-Badr, a paramilitary force formed to assist the Pakistan army to thwart the Bangladesh independence movement in 1971, of greater Mymensingh region.[1][10][11][12][13][14] According to the Daily Sangram on 16 August 1971, Muhammad Kamruzzaman presided over a rally held at the local Muslim Institute in Mymensingh by the Al-Badr to mark the 25th independence day of Pakistan.[14][15]


Kamaruzzaman was a two-time President of Islami Chhatra Shibir the student wing of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami.[13][16] He became a journalist at the weekly Sonar Bangla in 1981,[17] later taking the role of editor.[4] He also worked for The Daily Sangram as executive editor.[5]

In four successive elections between 1991 and 2008 Kamaruzzaman unsuccessfully contested the seat Sherpur-1 for Jamaat-e-Islami, losing the last three times to the Awami League candidate Md. Atiur Rahman Atik.[18]

War crimes trial[edit]

Kamuruzzaman was initially arrested on 13 July 2010 and detained for over a year without being formally informed of charges. In November 2011 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted the opinion that the detention was disproportional and breached human rights conventions.[19] Kamaruzzaman, along with nine other senior members from Jamaat-e-Islami,[6] was charged on seven counts of crimes against humanity during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, including genocide, killing, rape, looting, arson and deportation of unarmed civilians. He denied all charges, saying they were politically motivated.[7][20]


Kamaruzzaman was charged with the following war crimes:[5]

  • Killing of Badiuzzaman by Al-Badr, led by Kamaruzzaman on 29 June 1971.
  • Torture of Lecturer Abdul Hannan by Kamaruzzaman and his associates in May 1971.
  • Genocide of 120 men and rape of the women of the village Sohaghpur on 25 July 1971, planned and advised by Kamaruzzaman.
  • Murder of Golam Mostafa by Al-Badr on Kamaruzzaman's orders on 23 August 1971.
  • Killing of eight people from Chawkbazar by Al-Badr in presence of Kamaruzzaman at Sherpur in the middle of the Ramadan during the war.
  • Repression of Didar and others in Mymensingh district in November 1971.
  • Murder of five on the 27th day of Ramadan by the Al-Badr members following the orders of Kamaruzzaman.

Conviction and execution[edit]

The final arguments of the trial closed on 14 April 2013.[21] On 9 May 2013 the International Crimes Tribunal found him guilty on five out of the seven counts, including torture, genocide, killing, rape, looting, arson, and deportation of unarmed civilians during the 1971 Liberation war of Bangladesh and sentenced him to death by hanging on two of the charges.[1][22][23][24] Kamaruzzaman denied the charges saying the trial was politically motivated and appealed the verdict in the Supreme Court.[6] During the trial, Kamaruzzman had outbursts of anger and commented: "There is no instance in history that a higher secondary student has been tried for crimes against humanity."[7] The court upheld the death sentence on the charge of the Shohagpur genocide. He filed a review petition which was dismissed by the appellate division of the Supreme Court.[25]

Kamaruzzaman was executed on 11 April 2015 in Dhaka Central jail.[3]


Though the government and ICT have stated that justice was the priority, opposition parties Jamaat-e-Islami and the BNP accused the prime minister Sheikh Hasina of using the tribunal to persecute them.[26] Human Rights Watch called the trial "seriously flawed".[9]

2012 Skype controversy[edit]

In December 2012, conversations and emails between the judge and a Brussels-based lawyer were published, which according to The Economist revealed that the government wanted a quick verdict from the International Crimes Tribunal.[27] In response, an application was submitted on behalf of Kamaruzzaman for a retrial, which was rejected.[28] Following the revelations, the controversial chief Justice Nizamul Huq resigned from the post and Fazle Kabir was appointed there.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Kamaruzzaman to hang". 9 May 2013.
  2. ^ মানবতাবিরোধী অপরাধ : কামারুজ্জামানের মামলার রায় যে কোন দিন [Crimes against humanity: The verdict of Kamaruzzaman's case any day now]. Amar Desh (in Bengali). 17 April 2013. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  3. ^ a b Mahbub, Sumon; Haider, Liton (11 April 2015). "Bangladesh hangs Islamist leader Kamaruzzaman for war crimes 'worse than Nazis'".
  4. ^ a b "Weekly Sonar Bangla". Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d "Kamaruzzaman: The Charges". 9 May 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "Bangladesh's Kamaruzzaman sentenced to death". BBC News. 9 May 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d Manik, Julfikar Ali (5 June 2012). "No trial if I had joined AL". The Daily Star (Bangladesh). Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Justice ATM Fazle Kabir to head ICT-1". The Daily Ittefaq. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  9. ^ a b Khan, Mozammel H. (12 April 2015). "The debate over war crimes trials: Is there any merit?". The Daily Star. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Bangladesh Jamaat leader sentenced to death". Al Jazeera. 9 May 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Kamaruzzaman led Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams: witness". New Age. 3 August 2012. Archived from the original on 27 January 2016.
  12. ^ a b Adhikary, Tuhin Shubhra (10 May 2013). "Key man of Al-Badr". The Daily Star.
  13. ^ a b c "Profile of Kamaruzzaman". 9 May 2013. Archived from the original on 10 June 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  14. ^ a b The Daily Sangram, 16 August 1971. Cited in Ekattorer Ghatok Dalalera ke kothay, edited by Ahmed Sharif, Kazi Nuruzzaman and Shahriar Kabir, 4th edition published February 1989, pages 111 & 112. Photo on page 111.
  15. ^ "Kamaruzzaman was kingpin". The Daily Star. 29 January 2013.
  16. ^ Jamaat e Islami Website
  17. ^ Manik, Julfikar Ali (4 November 2014). "For the war criminal, being a journalist was a privilege". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  18. ^ Bangladesh Election Commission (2012). পরিসংখ্যান প্রতিবেদন: ৯ম জাতীয় সংসদ নির্বাচন [Statistics report: Ninth Jatiya Sangshad Election] (in Bengali).
  19. ^ "Opinion No. 66/2011" (PDF). United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  20. ^ "Closing arguments against Kamaruzzaman starts Sunday". The Daily Star. 21 March 2013.
  21. ^ একটি অভিযোগেও কামারুজ্জামানকে শাস্তি দেয়ার মতো উপাদান নেই [Not one allegation has the substance to warrant punishment]. Weekly Sonar Bangla (in Bengali). 19 April 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  22. ^ Khan, Kamrul Hasan (9 May 2013). "Bangladesh Islamist sentenced to hang for war genocide". Yahoo! News Singapore. Agence France-Presse.
  23. ^ "Full Verdict of Kamaruzzaman". Dhaka Star.
  24. ^ "3rd Jamaat leader to hang for war crimes". The Times of India.
  25. ^ "Review petition rejected: Kamaruzzaman's death sentence upheld". The Daily Observer. 6 April 2015.
  26. ^ Quadir, Serajul (8 May 2013). "Bangladesh braces for unrest as judges prepare war crime verdict". Reuters. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  27. ^ "The trial of the birth of a nation". The Economist. 15 December 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  28. ^ স্কাইপ কেলেঙ্কারি : মাওলানা সাঈদীর বিরুদ্ধে ফের যুক্তি উপস্থাপন হচ্ছে আজ [Skype scandal: Fair arguments against Maulana Sayeedi are now being presented]. Amar Desh (in Bengali). Archived from the original on 26 March 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.