Convicted war criminal Motiur Rahman Nizami would seek a review of the Supreme Court verdict that upheld his death penalty handed down by a special tribunal in October 2014.
“He [Nizami] has directed us to file a review [against the SC verdict],” Motiur Rahman Akanda, a defence counsel for the Jamaat-e-Islami chief, told reporters after meeting him at the Kashimpur jail-2 yesterday.
As per the law, Nizami will get 15 days to file a review petition. If the petition is rejected, the last option for him will be seeking presidential clemency.
Leader of infamous Al-Badr force in 1971, Nizami was given the capital punishment by the International Crimes Tribunal-1 for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971. The SC on January 6 this year upheld his death penalty and released its full verdict on Tuesday.
Upon receiving the full verdict, the International Crimes Tribunal issued Nizami's death warrant the same night and sent it to Dhaka Central Jail. Copies of the warrant were also sent to the Dhaka district magistrate for “necessary action” and the home and the law ministries for “information.”
Prashanta Kumar Banik, senior jail super of Kashimpur jail-2, where Nizami is an inmate, told The Daily Star that they received the warrant from the authorities of Dhaka Central Jail around 9:30am yesterday.
The jail authorities read out the warrant to Nizami around 10:15am. Nizami himself also read the copies of the warrant and the SC verdict, he said, adding that the Jamaat chief said he would seek review in consultation with his lawyers.
“He [Nizami] looked pale at that time,” said Prashanta, adding that Nizami's son Mohammad Nazibur Rahman and two lawyers had talks with him for around 40 minutes.
After the talks, his lawyer Motiur Rahman Akanda said, “He [Nizami] got the copy of the verdict. After going through a little part of it [the judgement], he said the verdict has been given on the basis of [something that is] false and untrue. Review petition must be filed against the verdict. He directed us to file a review.”
Four war criminals, who have already been executed for their war-time crimes, had filed petitions seeking review of the SC verdicts only to be rejected.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam on Tuesday said scope for allowing a review in such cases is very limited. Usually, a review appeal is entertained for consideration in case of serious factual mistakes in the verdict or wrongful application of the law, he added.