SC upholds Jamaat chief Nizami’s death sentence

SC upholds Jamaat chief Nizami’s death sentence

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The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the death penalty against Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer, Motiur Rahman Nizami, for his involvement in wartime offences.
In its short order, the apex court said, “This appeal is allowed in part. Appellant Motiur Rahman Nizami is acquitted of Charge Nos. 1,3,4 and his conviction and sentence in respect of Charge Nos. 2,6,7,8 and 16 are maintained.”
In a jam-packed courtroom, the four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha read out the summary of the verdict at 9:05am yesterday morning.The other members of the bench were: Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Hasan Foez Siddique.
The International Crimes Tribunal-1 had on October 29 in 2014 found him guilty of eight charges out of 16 brought against him for wartime offences. The ICT awarded him death penalty in connection with four charges while it sentenced him imprisonments for several periods in other four charges.
However, the apex court acquitted the Jamaat chief Nizami of three charges and upheld the sentences of the tribunal in five other charges.  It upheld death penalty for Nizami in three charges.
The Supreme Court upheld the ICT verdict that had awarded him death penalty in charge no. 2 brought against him for planning to commit crimes, killing 450 people, raping 30-40 women and deporting of villagers in Pabna on May 14, 1971.
The apex court also upheld the ICT verdict that had awarded him death penalty for charge no. 6 brought against him for ordering the murder of 30 people of Dhulaura village in Pabna district on November 27, 1971.
The SC also upheld the ICT verdict that had awarded him death penalty in the charges no. 16, which was brought against Nizami for his involvement in the killings of intellectuals and professionals during the War of Liberation in 1971.
The apex court also upheld the ICT verdict in respect of charges nos. 7 and 8 brought against him for torturing and killing one Sohrab Ali on December 3, 1971 and killing Bodi, Rumi, Jewel and Azad at the Old MP Hostel on August 30, 1971, in which the ICT had sentenced him for life term imprisonments.
However, the apex court acquitted Nizami from the charge n0.4, bought against Nizami for involvement with murders, rapes, loot and destruction of properties at Karamja village in Pabna district on May 8, 1971, in which the ICT had awarded him death penalty.
The apex court also acquitted Nizami from the charge no. 1, brought against him for causing arrest, detention, torture and murder of three victims including, the Head Maulana of Pabna Zilla School, Kasim Uddin, on June 4, 1971, in which the ICT had sentenced him life term imprisonment.
It also acquitted Nizami from the charges no. 3 brought against him for involvement with the torture, murder and rape at Mohammadpur Physical Training Institute in 1971, in which the ICT had awarded him life term imprisonment.
In an immediate reaction to the verdict, Attorney General (AG) Mahbubey Alam expressed his satisfaction that it awarded death penalty to Nizami.
The AG said, “The verdict has reflected people’s expectations as well as it fulfilled our expectations. I am felling relived and satisfied,” he added.
He also said that the superior responsibility of killing intellectual and professionals by Jamaat chief have been proved by the apex court verdict.
In response to a query, the chief law officer of the state said that the execution would be carried out after the disposal of review, if he files it.
In response to another query he said that it would be tantamount to the contempt of court, if anyone would give reaction questioning the apex court judgement.
On the other hand, chief defence counsel Advocate Khandaker Mahbub Hossain expressed his dissatisfaction over the verdict and said that they would decide on the next course of action regarding the filing of review petition against the verdict, after discussion with their client.
He also said that the evidences submitted before the court by the prosecution were fake. The Pakistani military personnel who were the prime accused of the war crimes as they were involved in these crimes. But they have been let go without trials.
The war crimes trial was being conducted at this time against accused [Nizami] and others for their association to the Pakistani army. The accused Nizami cannot be hanged just because he was an associate to them, the defence counsel said.
“We hoped that the court might commute his death penalty considering his age. But, the court did not do this as the prosecution submitted fake evidences before the court after taking some witnesses at the safe home. One day, the people of the country would come to know about the fake witnesses statements, he added.
In response to a query he said that as a lawyer, we had to certainly accept the verdict, whatever it is. Then we’ll analyse it and if we find our points were not properly addressed, we have the chance to seek review, he added.
On December 8, a four-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha had fixed January 6 for delivering the final verdict in the case.
Tight security arrangement has been made in and around Supreme Court premises to avoid any untoward incident ahead or during the verdict.
On October 29 last year, the ICT-1 found 71-year-old Nizami guilty in eight of the 16 war crime charges brought against him, and handed down death penalty for four charges and life imprisonment on the remaining four.
On November 23 last year, Nizami filed an appeal before the Supreme Court, challenging the ICT-1 verdict.
The appeal, containing 6,252 pages, cited 168 reasons for Nizami to be acquitted of the war crime charges. The apex court began hearing Nizami’s appeal on September 9, and resumed hearing on November 17.
Meanwhile, on January 30, a Chittagong court sentenced Nizami to death in the 10-truck arms haul case. His appeal in the case is yet to be disposed of by the High Court.
Nizami has been detained in the Kashimpur high-security prison in Gazipur.  -Staff Reporter

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