Home News Executioner-turned-TikTok star Shahjahan Bhuiya dies in Bangladesh

Executioner-turned-TikTok star Shahjahan Bhuiya dies in Bangladesh

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Shahjahan Bhuiya, who hanged some of Bangladesh’s most high-profile death row inmates in exchange for commuting his own sentences for robbery and murder and briefly became a TikTok star after his release from prison, died in Dhaka on Monday.

Bangladesh police said on Tuesday that Mr. Bhuiya died at a hospital in the capital, Dhaka, but the cause of death has not yet been determined. Mr. Bhuiya’s landlord, Abul Kashem, said in an interview that Mr. Bhuiya complained of chest pain on Sunday and he drove him to the hospital.

Last year, Mr. Bhuiya told local news media that he was 74. But according to Mr. Bhuiya’s ID card provided by Mr. Kashem, he was 66 when he died.

In 1991, Bhuiya was sentenced to 42 years in prison for robbery and murder, but he was granted early release last year after being granted a 10-year sentence in exchange for good behavior and hanging a fellow inmate, according to local news media.

In his memoir, “What is the Life of an Executioner?”, published after his release, Bhuiya wrote that he had executed 60 prisoners. Prison officials said the correct number was 26.

In that book and in interviews, Mr. Bhuiya systematically recounts some of the executions, some of which shaped the country’s modern history, including Assassination of the country’s founder and first presidentSheik Mujibur Rahman in 1975. Another was Siddiqul Islam, a radical Islamist leader who was 2005 bombings.

He also executed two opposition leaders. Salahuddin Kader Chaudhry They were convicted of war crimes committed during the 1971 war that led to Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan, according to local police.

Mr. Bhuiya quoted Islamist leader Siddiqul Islam as saying before his execution, “Don’t let anyone take my picture.”

According to Mr. Bhuiya, another politician on death row who was convicted of murder, Ershad Shikder, said: “I have done nothing wrong in my life. Pray for me.”

After his release from prison, Bhuiya published his own book and became a TikTok star for a time, with his videos often showing him engaging in sexually suggestive conversations with young women.

According to the identity card, Muhammad Shahjahan Bhuiya was born on January 1, 1958.

He wrote in his memoirs that his hometown is a village in Narsingdi district in central Bangladesh and that he has three sisters. Other information about his family is currently unknown.

He wrote that he had joined the army but dropped out because he could not complete the rigorous training program. He later rose through the ranks of the Bangladesh Communist Party and became the president of the Narsingdi district branch.

Information about his sentence for robbery and murder has not yet been released. But what is certain is that he was released 10 years early in June 2023.

At a news conference after Bhuiya’s release, Mahbubul Islam, a prison officer at Dhaka Central Jail, said Bhuiya’s sentence was shortened in part because of his good behavior and past executions. Islam said Bhuiya’s sentence was commuted by two months for each execution.

Suvas Kumar Ghose, a senior prison official at Dhaka Central Jail, said in an interview that prisoners can have their sentences reduced by a quarter for doing executions and other prison duties, as well as for good behavior.

Juliette Rousselot, deputy Asia director for the International Federation for Human Rights, a Paris-based advocacy group, said all executions in Bangladesh are carried out by prisoners who have served long sentences, selected by authorities. She said executioners can have their sentences shortened or receive incentives such as better prison accommodation.

Bangladesh sentences hundreds of prisoners to death each year, with about 2,400 on death row as of this year, according to London-based advocacy group Amnesty International, but typically carries out only a handful of executions in a given year.

Bhuiya’s sister, Firoza Begum, said in an interview that after his release from prison, in addition to shooting TikTok videos, Bhuiya also ran a tea stall. She said Bhuiya had little contact with his family for decades and that his other siblings had died. There is no other information about the survivors.

Mr. Bhuiya seemed generally indifferent to the executions he carried out, even expressing pride in his role in executing politicians convicted of war crimes and the military officer who assassinated the president.

Mr. Bhuiya said at a press conference after his release that he was appointed executioner because “I am brave.”

He said he couldn’t help but feel a tinge of pity every time he executed someone, but added: “Even if I didn’t hang them, someone else would.”

After three decades in prison, he feels like “a newborn baby just out of his mother’s womb,” he added. “My goal now is to live a good life.”

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