Bangladesh court rejects war crime convict's death penalty review petition

Bangladesh court rejects war crime convict's death penalty review petition

DHAKA, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Bangladesh apex court Thursday rejected the review petition filed by a condemned war criminal who was all set to be executed until a dramatic last gasp intervention saved him from the gallows late on Tuesday.

A five-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain passed the order, clearing the way for executing the war crime-convicted Abdul Quader Molla, assistant secretary general of Bangladesh's Jamaat-e-Islami Party.

In its brief verdict, the Supreme Court said, "There is no scope to accept Molla's review petition."

The prosecution says this rejection means that Molla, who was awarded the capital punishment for war crimes including mass killings, can be executed anytime soon as the death sentence remains valid.

Chief defense counsel Abdur Razzaq said, "let us receive the full verdict. He can't be executed until the release of the full verdict. And we have time until Dec. 23 for filing mercy petition as per jail code. "

But Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said, "the jail code will not be applicable in case of Molla."

Bangladesh's Supreme Court Wednesday adjourned till Thursday morning the hearing on the acceptability of the review petition filed by the condemned war criminal.

About one and a half hour before the convicted war criminal was to be hanged, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, a SC chamber judge, stayed the execution of the Jamaat leader until 10:30 a.m. local time Wednesday.

That came after the defense counsels on Tuesday evening submitted a petition to the chamber judge against the verdict of the apex court that sentenced Mollah to death for committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.

Justice Hossain was one of the five members of the Appellate Division bench that sentenced Mollah to death, overruling the judgment of International Crimes Tribunal-2 that had earlier awarded him life.

After the ICT-2 sentenced Mollah to life imprisonment on Feb. 5, hundreds of people, mostly pro-ruling party men, flocked to Shahbag square, an iconic place in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka, demanding death penalty for crimes against humanity in 1971.

The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-2 Sunday evening issued the death warrant for Molla amid a wide spread debate among lawyers on whether the Jamaat leader has the right to move a review petition before the apex court.

Mollah was indicted in May last year with six specific charges for his alleged involvement in murders and mass killings in 1971.

In the wake of the execution of war crime convict Molla, sources said law enforcers have already taken position in different strategically important points of capital Dhaka and many other cities and towns to thwart any untoward situation.

Dozens of people were killed as Jamaat men staged violent demonstrations since the beginning of this year after two tribunals dealing with war crimes cases started to deliver verdicts in war crimes cases.

Ten current and former leaders of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat have been sentenced to either death or life imprisonment for crimes against humanity linked to the country's war of independence.