SC judgment on appeal today
All eyes are on the Supreme Court that is set to deliver today its verdict on an appeal filed by war criminal Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed challenging the death penalty handed down to him.
A four-member SC bench headed by Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha is set to sit at 9:00am and pronounce the judgment at the beginning of today's court proceedings. The verdict delivery is on top of the court's cause list today.
The three other judges of the bench are Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Hasan Foez Siddique.
This is the fourth time the Appellate Division of the SC is going to deliver a verdict on an appeal against a tribunal's judgment.
On May 27, a four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha fixed today for delivering the verdict on the appeal after hearing it for nine days.
In July 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 sentenced the 67-year-old Jamaat-e-Islami secretary general to death, jailed him for life and sentenced him to five years in prison in five separate charges.
Mojaheed filed the appeal with the SC on August 11 the same year, seeking acquittal of all the charges against him.
During the hearing of the appeal, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam prayed to the Appellate Division to uphold the Tribunal-2's verdict, saying the tribunal had given the judgement rightly after properly examining documents, evidence and statements of witnesses.
Mojaheed, a leader of Al-Badr and Islami Chhatra Sangha, had killed intellectuals including noted journalist Serajuddin Hossain in 1971, he argued.
On the other side, Mojaheed's lawyer SM Shahjahan told the SC that the prosecution had miserably failed to produce credible and trustworthy evidence and witnesses before the court against his client.
The tribunal sentenced Mojaheed to death for abducting and killing Serajuddin Hossain during the country's Liberation War.
The tribunal merged this offence with the charge of killing intellectuals and professionals, for which Mojaheed was found guilty and sentenced to death.
The charge concerning the killing of intellectuals says the Pakistan army set up a camp at Mohammadpur Physical Training Institute, Dhaka, and members of Razakar and Al-Badr forces used to receive training there.
Mojaheed was also given death penalty for his involvement in the killing of the Hindus in Bakchar village in Faridpur in 1971.
The tribunal sentenced Mojaheed to life imprisonment for killing composer Altaf Mahmud, Jahir Uddin Jalal, Badi, Rumi (son of Shaheed Janani Jahanara Imam), Jewel and Azad at Old MP Hostel at Nakhalpara in Dhaka and to five years' imprisonment for confining Ranjit Nath, a civilian, at a Bihari camp in Faridpur.
According to the verdict, Mojaheed led a “death squad” named Al-Badr that worked as an auxiliary force of the Pakistan army.
Mojaheed, who was made a technocrat minister during the BNP-Jamaat-led four-party alliance rule in 2001-2006, came under huge criticism for his audacious comment in 2007 that there were no war criminals in the country.
Meanwhile, Jamaat insiders said the party leaders and activists were facing multiple problems and Mojaheed's final verdict would be a fresh blow to their sentiments.
The party is likely to enforce daylong hartal across the country tomorrow, Jamaat sources said yesterday.
On strategic grounds, Jamaat is unlikely to hold strong demonstrations centring today's verdict, a party leader said.