The full verdicts of the Supreme Court rejecting the review petitions of BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Jamaat leader Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid were read out to the two war crimes convicts at Dhaka Central Jail yesterday night.
Jail super of Dhaka Central Jail Jahangir Kabir read out the verdicts to Chowdhury and Mujahid around 10:50pm, said jail sources. When contacted, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told The Independent that there was no possibility of implementing by Thursday night the SC verdicts on the two war crimes convicts.
Earlier, around 8:42pm, the written verdicts reached the jail from the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), which received the verdicts from the Supreme Court (SC) around 7:30pm, according to Attorney General Mahbubey Alam. A four-member team of the ICT led by its Deputy Registrar Aftabuzzaman handed over the copy of the verdicts to the jail authorities.
The SC released the full texts of the review orders earlier yesterday, just a day af-ter dismissing the review pleas of BNP leader Chowdhury and Jamaat leader Mujahid seeking reconsid-erations of their death penalties.
In its review order, regarding the dismissal of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury’s review plea, the apex court said, “We have rejected the plea on assigning reasons and the learned Counsel could not show any error in the decision in arriving at the conclusion that the plea of alibi has not been substituted or that the reasons assigned by this Division are contrary to the evidence on record or that there are error apparent on the face of the record.”
“No review lies in this court except on ground of error apparent on the face of the record or miscarriage of justice,” the order copy said. “The basic philosophy inherent in it is the universal acceptance of human fallibility.
The learned Counsel fails to point out any error which has been cropped up on analysis of the evidence on record. Since the learned Counsel did not argue on the merit of the matter, and stresses upon the plea of alibi, which has been rejected on a full flagged hearing, at the late stage the petitioner has renewed the plea by producing a spurious document,” said the SC review order.
Regarding the dismissal order of Jamaat leader, the SC said, “Defence admitted that the appellant Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid was the President of the then Islami Chatra Shanga.…. we have con-cluded that as a leader of ICS and Badr Bahini he must take responsibility of his bahini and crimes committed by them during the war of liberation.”
“Accordingly, we held that petitioner’s ruthless Badr Bahini being instigated, suggested, provoked and incited by the petitioner had kidnapped and killed the intellectuals which were cold blooded savagery..… Does Islam permit killing of those unarmed people?
While awarding the sentence, the Court must take into consideration the unbearable pains, tears rolling down the cheeks and sufferings of the widows and children of the victims who cried for getting justice for about 43 years,” read the copy of the verdict.
Now, the two former ministers are left with one last option of seeking presidential clemency to save them from the rope. With the releasing of the review orders by the apex court, the long legal battles in the war crimes cases against Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General and BNP Standing Committee Member have finally come to an end, clearing the way for the execution of their death sentences.
Soon after releasing the copies of the review pleas, the apex court yesterday began the process to send the copies of its orders to the tribunal in the evening. After receiving the SC orders, the tribunal sent the copies of the orders to the prison authorities.
Once the jail authorities receive the apex court’s orders, they would complete the formality of asking the convicts whether they would seek presidential pardon, the only issue that remain pending before carrying out the execution of the verdicts.
Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha and three other judges of the Appellate Division bench which rejected the plea Wednesday, put their signatures on the copies of the review petitions yesterday evening.
The other members of the bench were Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Hasan Foez Siddique. Earlier, during yesterday’s court proceedings, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam requested the apex court to issue a short order on the dismissal of the review petitions.
But, the chief justice told him that it won’t be necessary as they would release the copy of the verdict very soon. The AG made the prayer to the chief justice as the jail authorities sought the written copy of the court’s order as they have to inform the convicts about the court orders.
As per the law, after getting the copies of the court order, the jail authorities would inform the convicts about the court order and asked them through a magistrate whether they would seek presidential clem-ency or not.
If they decline to seek presidential clemency, the jail authorities would then carry out the execution of the verdict following the government directives.
In its verdict, the country’s apex court on Wednesday cleared the decks for execution of war crimes’ convicts Jamaat leader Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid and BNP leader Salaudin Quader Chowdhury after dismissing their petitions seeking reconsideration of their death penalties for wartime offences.
In a jam-packed courtroom, the four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha once again upheld the tribunal verdict awarding death sentences to the convicts for committing crimes against humanity during the country’s War of Liberation in 1971.
Earlier in the day, family members of death-row war criminals BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid met them at Dhaka Central Jail.
Nine members of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury’s family entered the jail at 12:27 pm and came out at 1:30 pm, said sources. The family members of Salauddin Quader were his wife Farhat Quader Chow-dhury, two sons Fazlul Quader Chowdhury and Humman Quader Chowdhury, elder son’s wife Tania Khandaker, daughter Farzin Quader, son-in-law Zafar Khan, cousin Iqbal Hossain and two sisters Zo-baida Manwar and Hasina Quader.
None of them talked to reporters after meeting the BNP leader in jail.
Meanwhile, 12 members of Mujahid’s family, including his wife Tamanna-e-Jahan, son Ali Ahmad Mabrur, daughter-in-law Nafseen Akther Kakoli, daughter Tamanna Binte Mojaheed, nephew ANM Fazlul Hadi, entered the jail at 1:53 pm and got out of it at 2:40 pm.
Coming out of the jail, Mujahid’s son Ali Ahmad Mabrur said, “My father is fine and he heard that his review petition has been rejected but the order has not yet reached the jail authorities.”
About seeking presidential clemency, Mabrur did not give any direct answer and only said that his father will decide about it after discussions with his lawyers. “My father will file a petition to the president over the trial process,” he added.
UNB adds from Faridpur: Security measures have been beefed up across the district following the Su-preme Court (SC) verdict that upheld the death penalty of war criminal Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojaheed.
The security upgrade is meant to avert any untoward incident in repercussion of the verdict as the con-demned convict hails from the district. Additional forces of police have been deployed at important points in the district town including Janata Bank Mor, Press Club, Rajbari Raod Mor, court area as well as at other important points in the upazilas of the district since Wednesday night.
The district’s deputy commissioner Sarder Sarafat Ali said police and the administration forces have been kept alter to maintain law and order, and are prepared to tackle any anarchic attempt by Jamaat-Shibir activists.
Besides, forces of and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) have been kept on standby, he added. Meanwhile, leaders of Faridpur city unit and Sadar unit of ruling Awami League hoped that the government will execute the death penalty of Mojaheed in the quickest possible time.
They also vowed not to allow the burial of Mojaheed’s body in the district after the execution of his death sentence. The SC on Wednesday upheld its previous judgment on Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mo-jaheed, rejecting his plea for reviewing death penalty for his crimes against humanity during the Libera-tion War in 1971.