War crimes convict Abdul Quader Molla has not yet decided on seeking mercy from the President, his lawyers say.
His chief defence counsel Abdur Razzaq says the Jamaat-e-Islami leader had given them permission to file a review petition.
The prosecution, however, claims that the Jamaat leader is not entitled to a review.
Razzaq and Tajul Islam met the Jamaat Assistant Secretary General at the Dhaka Central Jail around Tuesday noon.
After the 50-minute meeting, Razzaq said they had discussed the review petition and presidential clemency.
“He has asked us to file a review petition saying he was contemplating seeking mercy from the President,” the chief defence counsel told reporters.
The war crimes tribunal sentenced Molla to life on Feb 5 this year for his atrocities during Bangladesh’s Liberation War. The Appellate Division revised the verdict on Sept 17 and raised it to maximum penalty.
Based on the highest court’s verdict, the tribunal on Sunday issued a death warrant for Molla — who was dubbed as ‘Butcher of Mirpur’ during the War of Independence.
Defence counsel Razzaq had been saying they would file a review petition against the sentence.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, however, had said the convict would not get the chance.
The prosecution, citing the Constitution’s sub-section 3 of Section 47, has been saying those convicted of genocide or crimes against humanity or war crimes cannot be accorded basic rights.
According to the jail code, a sentence has to be executed within 21 to 28 days after the Appellate Division publishes the verdict. The prosecution says the jail code will not be applicable in case of Molla.
The tribunal’s prosecution coordinator, MK Rahman and the Attorney General have been saying the execution of the verdict now depends on the government.
Generally, the process to carry out a death sentence starts with the High Court’s approval in case the convict does not appeal against the verdict in the Appellate Division.
Once the convict appeals for mercy, the Jail Superintendent forwards it to the Home Secretary along with a separate letter mentioning a possible date for the execution of the verdict.
According to the prosecution, Molla will only be able to seek mercy from the President as the last resort and it will have to be within seven days from the publication of the full verdict.
However, defence counsel Razzaq argues, the Jamaat leader will get 15 days as per the jail code.
Molla has asked his lawyers to meet him again on Dec 22 when he would decide on seeking presidential mercy.
His lawyers said Molla was ‘mentally strong’.
“We’ll file a review plea once we get a certified copy of the verdict,” said Razzaq, claiming the Jamaat leader was yet to get a copy of the sentence.
“He (Molla) has the right to know what the 790-page verdict contains. He has not been given a copy of the verdict but only notified about the [death] warrant,” he said.
Senior Jail Superintendent Farman Ali said they had taken ‘all preparations’ and would carry out the sentence once the government ordered.
He said Razzaq’s contention that Molla would get 15 days to seek presidential clemency would not be accepted.
According to him, the government was considering amending the jail code to extend the time frame to seek mercy to 15 days. It has not been implemented yet.
“Molla will get seven days as per the current provision,” said jail official.
The Jamaat leader has five days left now since the Supreme Court published the full verdict on Dec 5.
Farman Ali referred to the Attorney General’s Monday’s statement that the jail code would not apply in Molla’s case.
Source: Bd news24