Mir Quasem Ali (31 December 1952 – 3 September 2016) was a Bangladeshi businessman and politician. He was a former director of Islami Bank, and chairman of the Diganta Media Corporation, which owns Diganta TV. He founded the Ibn Sina Trust and was a key figure in the establishment of the NGO Rabita al-Alam al-Islami. He was considered to be the wealthiest member of the Bangladeshi political party Jamaat-e-Islami. He was sentenced to death on 2 November 2014 for crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 by International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh.
Out of the 14 charges, Quasem was convicted of 10 charges in the trial at International Crimes Tribunal and he was awarded death sentence for two of the charges including murder and kidnapping. After the announcement of the verdict of the trial the lawyers from the defence said that justice had not been done for Quasem and he did not get proper judgment. Gonojagoron Moncho supported the verdict and expressed satisfaction. The defence pledged an appeal to Bangladesh High court. Quasem’s political Party Jamaat-e-Islami called for a nationwide three days strike as a protest over the verdict. He filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. The supreme court rejected the review petition on 30 August 2016, and Ali refused to seek clemency.
Employment of US lobby firm
In 2010, Just after formation of the International Crimes Tribunal, Quasem signed 25 million US dollar deal with most influential US lobby firm Cassidy & Associates to influence US government to foil the war crimes trial process. In 2011 Quasem and his brother Mir Masum Ali again hired the same firm for the same purpose and paid $310,000 and that was the largest amount paid by any client in the first quarter of 2011. Not only that, in 2014 sympathizer groups from the US again signed contract with Cassidy & Associates to lobby for the same cause and promised to pay $50,000. Later Cassidy & Associates sub-contracted the task to another 2 firms named Cloakroom Advisors and Kgloba. Besides this, another pro-Jamaat-e-islami organization appointed another lobbying firm named ‘Just Consulting LLC’ which was later renamed ‘Grieboski Global Strategies’ to influence the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, the US Department of State and the US Congress against the war crimes trials.
Mir Quasem Ali was hanged at Kashimpur Prison in Gazipur on 3 September 2016.
There were reports of street celebrations held in Dhaka and Chittagong after the news of Ali’s execution was broadcast live on television.
Image & Text: Wikipedia