The appeal in Mir Quasem Ali's case should be reheard by a reconstituted Appellate Division bench of the Supreme Court, keeping the chief justice out of it, Food Minister Qamrul Islam said yesterday.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam should also be kept from the proceedings of the war crimes convict's case, he said at a discussion in the capital.
On February 24, a five-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by the CJ completed hearing on Quasem's appeal and fixed March 8 for its verdict.
A war crimes tribunal in November 2014 sentenced Quasem to death for crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War.
A member of Jamaat central executive council, Quasem challenged the verdict and sought acquittal on all charges.
Qamrul, who was state minister for law when the tribunal was formed in 2010, told the discussion that the chief justice in an open court made some observations that raised questions about the prosecutors and investigators' role in the trial.
“I am aggrieved by his comments in the open court,” the minister said.
Qamrul alleged that the comments had similarities with those by some political parties opposed to the war crimes trial.
“He [Quasem] is now in the condemned cell, but his money is well active outside the prison....
“I have a clear suggestion ... Let there be a bench of the Appellate Division, keeping the present chief justice out of the bench, which he now leads, and then let there be a fresh hearing of the appeal. This is my demand in clear terms. There is no other option,” he said, and “humbly requested” the chief justice to accept his proposal.
Going along with the chief justice, the attorney general also criticised the prosecution, although he was duty-bound to conduct the case properly, Qamrul said.
Moreover, the AG does not take any assistance from the prosecution to conduct the cases, he alleged.
The minister insisted that the government was holding the trial of the 1971 genocide perpetrators to end the culture of impunity, defying pressure from different quarters.
And the trial is being held maintaining international standards, he added.
Contacted, Mahbubey Alam just said, “You cannot comment on all sorts of statements.”
Speaking at the discussion, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque said if the chief justice had indeed made such comments in the open court, as a judge and responsible citizen, he must as well know the remedy.
Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, which champions the war crimes trial, organised the discussion titled “Conspiracy against the trial of the 1971 genocide perpetrators: Responsibilities of the government, judiciary and civil society” at BILIA auditorium in the city.
Shahriar Kabir, executive president of the organisation, presented the concept paper, which was jointly written by him and Prof Muntassir Mamoon, Shaheed Jaya Shyamoli Nasrin Chowdhury, eminent sculptor Ferdousi Priyobhashinee and eminent cultural personality Nasir Uddin Yousuff.
Sector Commander Abu Osman Chowdhury, former Supreme Court judge Md Shamsul Huda, trustee of the Liberation War Museum Mofidul Hoque, International Crimes Tribunal's prosecutors Zead Al Malum and Tureen Afroz, journalists Khandker Moniruzzaman and Swadesh Roy and Tawheed Reza Noor, son of martyred journalist Serajuddin Hossain, also spoke at the programme.
A written speech of former SC judge AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik was read out by his daughter Nadia Choudhury.