As the top appeals court upheld the death sentence of the linchpin of killings of intellectuals during the Liberation War, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, the wait for the copy of the full verdict on his appeal against death sentence has begun.
A four-member bench of the Appellate Division, led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, announced the final verdict on Tuesday.
Both the state and the defence have said they were waiting for copies of the full verdict on the appeal of Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Mujahid against his death sentence.
The defence will be able to review the verdict once the copy arrived. The convict will also get the chance to seek presidential pardon then.
If the two options are cancelled, or the convict does not seek a review or clemency from the president, the government will execute the death sentence.
This time, the process followed before the execution of Jamaat Assistant Secretaries General Abdul Quader Molla and Mohammad Kamaruzzaman will serve as precedents.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said after the verdict, “I did not seek a short order today (Tuesday). I had sought so during the previous verdict, but it was not issued. So I did not seek it this time in the light of that experience.”
“I hope I’ll get the full verdict soon,” he added.
Defence lawyer Khandaker Mahbub Hossain said he would file the review petition within 15 days of getting a copy of the full verdict.
Jamaat leader Quader Molla was the first to hang for his atrocities during the war against Pakistan in 1971. He was hanged in December 2013.
On Sep 17 that year, the Appellate Division issued the copy of the full verdict on Quader Molla’s death sentence.
A bench of the top appeals court had given the Jamaat leader the maximum penalty with a 4-1 majority after reviewing two appeals regarding a verdict handed down by the International Crimes Tribunal-2.
The Supreme Court published the full verdict after about two and a half months.
The two-page death warrant of Quader Molla, with a copy of the full verdict, was sent to the Dhaka Central Jail on Dec 8.
The prison authorities had said Quader Molla’s death sentence would be executed at 12:01am on Dec 11 that year.
The chamber judge stayed the execution abruptly following an appeal by Quader Molla’s lawyers.
They had filed two petitions, one to review the verdict and another to release the convict that night.
The full bench of the Appellate Division heard and rejected the appeals on Dec 11 and 12.
The war criminal was hanged at 10:01pm on Dec 12 after his family had met him at the jail.
After Quader Molla, the Appellate Division heard Jamaat Nayeb-e-Amir Delwar Hossain Sayedee’s appeal against his death sentence. It commuted the death sentence to an imprisonment for life.
The full verdict on Sayedee’s appeal has not been published yet.
The question on the chance to appeal for a review of war crimes verdict arose after the final verdict against Quader Molla.
The matter was placed in discussions when the Appellate Division upheld another Jamaat leader Kamaruzzaman’s death sentence on Nov 3 last year.
On Nov 25, the Supreme Court published the full verdict on the review petition by Quader Molla.
In the verdict, the top appeals court said both the state and defence would be able to appeal for review in war crimes cases within 15 days of the verdict.
It also said the review petitions by people convicted under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973 would be maintainable but not up to the level of an appeal.
On Feb 18 this year, the tribunal issued a death warrant for Kamaruzzaman when the Appellate Division published the full verdict on Kamaruzzaman’s appeal, upholding the death sentence.
On Mar 5, his lawyers filed a review petition and the Appellate Division dismissed it on Apr 6.
He was given the chance to meet his lawyers to decide on the presidential clemency after the rejection of his review petition.
There was, however, confusion over the time of seeking presidential pardon and its disposal, as the war crimes act does not specify it.
In the verdict on Quader Molla’s review petition, the top appeals court said death-row war criminals could seek presidential pardon, but the jail code deadline of doing so within seven and 21 days would not apply.
It also said the convict could not be cannot be executed before the disposal of the petition seeking presidential clemency if he or she filed one.
During the execution of Quader Molla, the government had said he had not sought president’s mercy and he had been executed on the very day of the dismissal of the review petition.
But the matter perplexed the government as Kamaruzzaman sought time several times to decide on the presidential pardon.
Attorney General Alam had said Kamaruzzaman would be given ‘reasonable time’ to plead for mercy.
He had also said that he thought only the time needed ‘to write a mercy petition’ was ‘reasonable time’.
On Apr 11, State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said Kamaruzzaman had decided not to seek mercy from the president.
The Jamaat leader’s family met him that evening and he was hanged after 10pm as the second war criminal.
Source: Bd news24