The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Wednesday fixed March 8 for delivering its verdict on an appeal filed by war crimes convict and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali challenging his death penalty for wartime offences.
After concluding the hearing on the appeal, the apex court first set 2 March for delivering the verdict, but after sometimes the apex court shifted the date to March 8 on account of absence of the Chief Justice who will then be out of the country on an officials visit.
A five-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha fixed the date after concluding appeal hearing from the both sides.
The other members of the bench are: Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Justice Hasan Foez Siddique, Justice Mirza Hussain Haider and Justice Mohammad Bazlur Rahman.
During the yesterday’s hearing which was for the seventh consecutive day, prosecution lawyer Attorney General (AG) Mahbubey Alam placed his final argument before the court.
The chief law officer of the state prayed to the apex court to uphold Mir Quasem’s death penalty – awarded to him by a war crimes tribunal on November 2, 2014.
After concluding the state arguments, Advocate Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, chief defence counsel delivered his concluding speech before the apex court seeking acquittal order for Mir Quasem Ali.
Hossain prayed to the apex court for acquittal saying that the state counsels failed to prove the charges.
Later, Mahbubey Alam told reporters that the apex court would upheld the death penalty to Mir Quasem Ali considering his crimes against humanity committed during the War of Liberation in 1971.
On the other hand, defence counsel Khandaker Mahbub Hossain told reporters that they hoped that the apex court would acquit his client as the prosecution have failed to prove any charges brought against Mir Quasem Ali.
Earlier, the apex court fixed 2 February for the hearing on the appeal. However, the hearing was rescheduled on 9 February as the defendants filed a time petition.
On 6 January, both the defence and the prosecution submitted the concise statements of the appeal to the Appellate Division.
On 28 May and 18 August, 2015, the SC asked the defence and prosecution to submit the concise statements of the appeal.
On 30 November, 2014, Mir Quasem Ali filed an appeal with the Supreme Court challenging the death penalty awarded to him by the International Crimes Tribunal 2 for his crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971.
Quasem, a member of Jamaat-e-Islami Central Executive Council, in his appeal, cited 181 reasons for acquittal on all charges.
On 2 November un 2014, the International Crimes Tribunal had condemned Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali to death for his crimes against humanity during the Liberation War
Mir Quasem was the president of Chittagong town unit Islami Chhatra Sangha, student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, until November 6, 1971. He was then made general secretary of East Pakistan Chhatra Sangha.
On November 2, 2014, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 sentenced Quasem to death for crimes against humanity in 1971. Quasem later filed an appeal with the SC, challenging the tribunal’s verdict.
The Supreme Court enlisted the matter at number four of the daily cause list.
So far, the apex court have handed down its verdicts against five war criminals in war crimes cases. The convicts include Jamaat assistant secretaries general Quader Molla and Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, the party’s Nayeb-e-Amir Delwar Hossain Sayedee, and BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury. – Staff Reporter