The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court yesterday dismissed a review petition paving the way for the execution of Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami for crimes against humanity committed during the War of Liberation in 1971.The four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha dismissed the review petition filed by Nizami seeking reconsideration of his death penalty in war crimes cases.
The other judges of the bench are Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Hasan Foez Siddique.
With the latest order of the apex court, the Jamaat chief has lost all legal battles in saving his life from war crimes charges. Now, the Jamaat chief has only one and last option to seek presidential clemency to save his life from gallows.
Expressing satisfaction over the verdict, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, told reporters that there was no legal bar to execute him unless he would seek clemency from the president and the president pardons him.
He said the verdict would be sent to jail authorities and then they would read it out before Nizami and seek his decision whether he would seek clemency or not.
In response to a query, the chief law officer of the state said that the government has to wait for executing the Jamaat chief till releasing the full copy of the review verdict.
After releasing the full copy of the review verdict, the jail authorities would execute him in accordance with the government order, Alam explain.
He also said that the verdict finally secured justice for the killings of intellectuals. Nizami inspired the Al-Badr and was responsible for the massacre of the intellectuals.
On the other hand, Advocate Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, counsel for Nizami, told reporters that he is not satisfied over the apex court verdict and he has no comment over the verdict.
In response to a query, he said that Nizami would take decision whether he would seek for mercy or not.
However, the defence lawyer said that the court awarded death penalty for Nizami on the basis of false witness statements.
Future generation will decide whether the trial carried out properly or not. At that time the future generation may decide that the trial did not carry out in accordance with the law, Hossain said.
The government has been conducting the trial in order to full-fill a certain motive. The government executed one after another for crimes against humanity with a particular motive. But, I think that the country’s people did not accept the trial. The government can investigate through agencies members whether the country’s people accept the trial or not, he noted.
The death penalty is being given to Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami on the basis of false witnesses’ statements, he noted.
Expressing satisfaction over the verdict, law minister Anisul Huq said that the nation is now free from some stigma following the apex court order as it has established justice by upholding the death penalty for Nizami.
The Pakistani army with the collaboration of Al-Badre conducted mayhem in Bangladesh during the Liberation War. Now, I am felt in emotion when I recalled the mayhem of 1971. The apex court has delivered historic verdict to establish rule of law in the country, he added.
Barrister Tureen Afroz, one of the prosecutor told reporters that the truth has been established through the apex court verdict. Now we are waiting for SC’s full verdict and Nizami’s execution, she added.
Sanaullah Haque, a co-coordinator of the International Crimes Tribunal’s investigation agency, said the case was important as they faced challenges during probe and trial of the case.
The Jamaat leader filed the review petition on March 30 this year seeking a review of the apex court’s judgement that upheld his death penalty awarded by the International Crimes Tribunal for committing crimes against humanity during the War of Liberation in 1971.
Nizami filed the petition 14 days after the SC released the full judgment. Barrister Najeeb Momen, son of Nizami, said a 70-page document, citing 46 arguments, was submitted to the apex court seeking acquittal for Nizami.
The ICT-1 on October 29, 2014 handed down the death penalty on Nizami on four charges of war crimes, including murdering intellectuals during the war. The 71-year-old was also awarded life imprisonment on four other charges.
Nizami had filed an appeal with the Supreme Court on November 23, 2014 challenging the death sentence and claimed himself innocent and sought to be cleared of the charge.
The SC on January 6 this year upheld his death sentence on three charges and life term imprisonment on two other charges.
The apex court upheld death sentences handed to Nizami by the tribunal after finding him guilty of planning intellectuals’ killings in Dhaka in the last days of the Liberation War, mass murdering of 450 people in three villages — Boushgari, Ruposhi and Demra, and murdering 52 others in the village Dhulaura.
The apex court also upheld Nizami’s death sentence for ordering the abductions and killings of three physicians, Abdul Alim Chowhury, Azharul Haque and Humayun Kabir.
The apex court upheld Nizami’s life term for ordering abduction, confinement and killings of freedom fighters Badi, Rumi, Azad, Jewel and composer Altaf Mahmud in Dhaka and for ordering torture and murder of Liberation War supporter Sohrab Ali of the village Brishalikha, Pabna.
Two months later, on March 15, the apex court released the full verdict. The ICT issued a death warrant for him hours after the SC full verdict. The following day, jail authorities read out the judgment before the convict.
So far, SC verdicts have been handed down against five war criminals in war crimes cases.