Family meets Jamaat leader in Dhaka jail for last time
In the first ever execution of war trial verdict, Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah, known as Koshai (butcher) Quader for his brutal style of torture on the freedom-seeking people during the country’s 1971 Liberation War, is going to be hanged after midnight.
Authorities of Dhaka Central Jail, where the condemned war criminal has been kept, confirmed The Daily Star that all preparations have been taken to hang the Jamaat-e-Islami assistant secretary general.
“We are going to execute him at 12:01 tonight,” Forman Ali, senior jail superintendent of the prisons, told The Daily Star.
Twenty-three family members of the death row convict, who was instrumental against the birth of Bangladesh during the 1971 War of Independence, met him for the last time.
Contacted by the jail authorities in the afternoon, they drove there in two microbuses.
“We let them in at 7:50pm for half an hour,” Ali said.
It was Mollah’s sentence — life-term imprisonment — on February 5 which triggered a youth upsurge in the capital, known popularly as Shahbagh Movement, that later spread across the country.
The key demand — execution of war criminals — later forced the government to bring an amendment to the International Crimes Tribunal law which is the basis for the special tribunal trying the accused of war crimes committed 42 years ago.
After contacted by the jail authorities, Advocate Tajul Islam, a counsel for Mollah, said: “We are in tension. We feel that it is not a good sign.”
A large number of curious people have gathered in front of Dhaka Central Jail, most of them to celebrate at the punishment of the infamous Jamaat leader, after the news of the execution spread.
Earlier in the morning, Mollah instructed his lawyer to file a review petition with the Supreme Court challenging its verdict awarding him death penalty for his wartime offences, Tajul said after meeting with the Jamaat assistant secretary general at Dhaka Central Jail.
Tajul along with Chief of defence counsel Barrister Abdur Razzak and Advocate Tajul went to the jail at 10:10am and stayed there for 50 minutes.
“Mollah is mentally sound,” advocate Tajul said after the meeting.
The defence lawyer said Mollah is yet to decide whether he will pray for presidential mercy. He will take decision on the mercy petition after consulting with his family members, the lawyer said.
The jail authorities have read out the warrant of execution order before Mollah but is yet to give the full text of verdict to him, Tajul said adding that the authorities are supposed to give a copy of the full verdict to a condemned convict.
Tajul said Mollah will get 15 days after receiving the warrant of execution order to decide whether he will pray for presidential mercy.
Mollah’s 15 days time limit will expire on December 23 as the International Crimes Tribunal sent the order on December 8, he said.
“Abdul Qader Mollah told us that he is innocent and he did not commit any crimes. The attempts to execute him are being made to root out the politics of Jamaat-e-Islami,” Tajul said.
The defence lawyer informed that they will further try to meet their client in the jail.
His family members will also meet with him before December 23, the lawyer said.
Yesterday, Mollah’s lawyer Abdul Razzaq served a legal notice on the government, asking it not to execute Mollah until the disposal of a review petition to be filed challenging the death sentence.
The notice came a day after the death warrant of the Jamaat assistant secretary general was issued by the International Crimes Tribunal-2.
On February 5, the Tribunal-2 sentenced Mollah to life imprisonment but the Supreme Court on September 17 awarded him the death penalty. The full verdict of the Supreme Court was released on Thursday.
Source: The Daily Star