Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum, a BNP affiliate, has said Jamaat-e Islami leader Abdul Quader Molla’s death sentence should not be carried out until it is reviewed.
The lawyers’ forum expressed this view at a press conference held in a Supreme Court building on Wednesday afternoon.
The forum’s Advisor, Moudud Ahmed, is a Standing Committee Member of the BNP, Jamaat’s key ally.
Toeing his party line, Moudud again cast doubts on the war crimes trial proceedings.
Moudud read out a written statement saying Article 105 of the Constitution ensures a citizen’s right to have a verdict by the Appellate Division reviewed.
“But we feel sad to see the process is on to execute the death penalty awarded to Abdul Quader Molla by depriving him of his right to review.
The constitutional provision of review is the country’s highest law, and we want to see it effective.”
The Supreme Court’s Appellate Division handed down Abdul Quader Molla the death penalty on Sep 17 for killing the family of a Mirpur resident, Hajrat Ali Laskar, on Mar 26, 1971, the day the country’s Independence War broke out.
The SC overturned the International Crimes Tribunal’s order of Molla’s life imprisonment, challenged by both the prosecution and the defence.
The ICT had delivered its verdict on Feb 5, triggering a mass movement lasting for close to a month at one of the capital’s busiest intersections.
Defence counsels plan to seek a review of the SC order after getting a full copy of it.
The government’s top legal counsel Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, however, maintained there was no scope for a review in this case.
He said Molla would be executed once the full copy of the verdict reached the government.
Moudud’s reaction was the first statement to come from a BNP leader.
The party has been opposed to the war crimes trial ever since it began.
“We don’t think the proceedings of this conform to the existing law and international standards. That’s why they have been questioned internationally.”
“We believe the government had filed this case fulfil its mean political interest. We condemn this attitude and demand that Abdul Quader Molla’s death penalty be put on hold until the review petition is disposed of.”
The senior BNP leader also questioned the amendment of the ICT Act, allowing the prosecution to challenge an ICT verdict in a higher court.
“Given the tradition in Bangladesh’s judiciary, we find two instances unprecedented. Giving the prosecution the chance to appeal against a verdict by amending the law after the lower court has already announced its judgment and the turning of the lower court’s verdict of a life term into a death penalty by the country’s highest court.”
The chief defence counsel Abdur Razzaq had described the SC verdict as wrong in his immediate reaction. Moudud was present at the press briefing where Razzaq had made this observation, but did not make any comment. – bdnews24.com