Top appeals court rejects war criminal Kamaruzzaman's review petition

Top appeals court rejects war criminal Kamaruzzaman’s review petition


Monday’s rejection removes all legal hurdles to execute the Jamaat-e-Islami leader for the crimes he committed against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.

A four-member bench headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha rejected the petition in the morning after about two-hour long hearing on the petition the previous day.

“Dismissed”, is what the chief justice said at the courtroom.

Khandaker Mahbub Hossain represented the Jamaat-e-Islami leader while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam argued for the state at the hearing.

“The Appellate Division has rejected the plea, which means the death penalty remains upheld,” the attorney general said to after the verdict.

He said the war crimes convict can now file a mercy petition with the president and the execution will be carried out if that is turned down, as well.

The defence, however, did not make it clear whether the convict will go for presidential clemency.

“We will seek permission from the prison authorities today. The next steps will be taken after consulting him,” lawyer Shishir Monir told reporters.

On Nov 3 last year, the same bench had confirmed the death penalty awarded to the Jamaat leader by a war crimes tribunal.

Others in the four-strong bench were Justice Abdul Wahhab Miah, Justice Hasan Foez Siddique and Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury.

Kamaruzzaman, who was then a leader of Al-Badr in Mymensingh, was ordered to hang by the apex court for the killing of 120 people at Sohagpur village in 1971.

His lawyer Khandaker Mahbub had argued for the review of the death sentence on four grounds, which were not found tenable by the four-member bench.

On the other hand, the attorney general in his argument stated, “If today we show any leniency towards the war criminals, history will hold us accountable.”

Kamaruzzaman, now Jamaat’s Senior Assistant Secretary General, was the Mymensingh district unit chief of the party’s then the student wing Islami Chhatra Sangha in 1971.

He had formed the Al-Badr militia forces with help of the Pakistan Army by recruiting Chhatra Sangha members from Jamalpur’s Ashek Mamhud College.

Under his command, Al-Badr members were involved in genocide, killing, rape, looting, arson, and deportation of people in the then greater Mymensingh region including Jamalpur, Netrokona, Kishoreganj, Sherpur and Tangail districts.

On May 9, 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) found him guilty in five counts out of the seven levelled against him.

The tribunal ordered death for him on two charges, including the killing of 120 men and raping of women in Sohaghpur Village at Sherpur’s Nalitabarhi on July 25, 1971.

The Supreme Court in its verdict found him unanimously guilty of the charge and sentenced him to death by majority.

But it reduced the death sentence awarded for the other charge to life.

The Appellate Division also upheld the tribunal’s verdict of life in prison and 10-year jail term in two other charges, but acquitted him of another charge.

The war crimes tribunal issued a death warrant for him on Feb 19 this year, a day after the full Supreme Court verdict upholding the death was published.

The seven-day rule according to the jail code will not applicable in war crimes trial if Kamaruzzaman sought presidential clemency, said Attorney General Alam.

The Jamaat leader is the second war crimes convict to file a review petition with the top appeals court before the verdict is being implemented.

On Dec 12, 2103, war criminal and Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla was executed after his review petition was rejected by the top appeals court.


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