Death-row war crimes convicts, Jamaat leader, Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid and BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury will file a review petition before the Supreme Court Wednesday for reconsideration of the apex court verdict that upheld their penalty in connection with wartime offences.
“We have already completed all preparations to file review petition on behalf of Ali Ahsan Mujahid and trying to compete the preparation to file review petition on behalf Slauddin Quader Chowdhury by tomorrow,” Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain, principal counsel for both the convicts, told The Independent yesterday.
“We will file the review petition on Wednesday on behalf of Mujahid, in accordance with his instructions,” advocate Shishir Manir, one of the lawyers for Mujahid, told The Independent yesterday (Tuesday) after coming out from Dhaka Central Jail.
Five lawyers — Shishir Manir, Nazrul Islam, Moshiul Alam, Motiur Rahman Akand and Gazi Tamim — met Mujahid in the jail in the afternoon to discuss filing of the review petition.
In response to a query, Shishir Manir said his client thought that the prosecution could not make any specific allegation against him related to the killing of any intellectual in 1971. A total of 42 cases were filed in 1972 for the killing of intellectuals in 1971, but he was not an accused in any of the cases, Shishir Manir said.
As per the directive of Mujahid, it will be mentioned in the review petition that the tribunal, as well as the apex court, awarded the death penalty to Mujahid as a commander of the auxiliary force, Al-Badar. During the Liberation War Mujahid was a student and his age was only 23. How a student, whose age was 23, could be made a commander of the auxiliary force. Besides, the investigation officer of the war crimes cases had confessed that the name of Mujhid was not found in any of the auxiliary forces, Al-Badr, Razakar and Al-Shams, Manir said.
In the review petition, it will also be mentioned that the court awarded him the death penalty for being a commander of Al-Badar. If Mujahid was a commander of Al-Badar in 1971, who had appointed him? The prosecution failed to produce any documents and references in this regard, Manir said, adding that these points will be included in the review petition as per his client’s wish.
Manir said his client was physically and mentally well. “Mujahid hoped that he would be acquitted in the review as he was not involved in any crimes against humanity in 1971,” Manir added.
On the other hand, Advocate Hujjatul Islam Khan Al Fesani, another counsel for SQ Chowdhury, said they will file the review petitions with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
In response to a query he said that the review petition will contain at about 350-page. A total of 8 to 10 grounds will be included seeking acquittal order for Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, Hujjatul Islam added.
In a verdict on July 17, 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) sentenced Mujahid to death for killing intellectuals during the Liberation War. Later, he moved the Appellate Division against the verdict, but the apex court, on June 16, upheld the tribunal’s verdict of death penalty.
On July 29, the apex court upheld the verdict of the then International Crimes Tribunal-1 (ICT-1) that had condemned BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury to death for committing crimes against humanity, including rape and mass killing, during the Liberation War, 43 years ago.
On October 1, 2013, the then International Crimes Tribunal-1 found the BNP leader guilty of crimes against humanity during the War of Liberation and condemned him to death.
On October 29 of the same year, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury filed an appeal with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court against the ICT verdict. – Staff Reporter