Although the paper books of sensational August 21 grenade attack, Holey Artisan Bakery attack and Feni madrasa student Nusrat Jahan Rafi murder cases have already been prepared, the High Court is yet to start hearing on their death references and appeals for different reasons, delaying justice.
If a lower court sentences a person to death, its judgment is examined by the HC through hearing arguments for confirmation of the penalty. The case documents and judgment reach as death references to the HC from the lower court within seven days of the verdict.
Supreme Court Spokesman Md Saifur Rahman told The Daily Star on September 15 that the officials concerned of the HC are now comparing the paper books of the August 21 and Holey Artisan cases with their original documents. They are also examining whether state defence lawyers are needed to defend the fugitive convicts during the HC hearing, he said.
On completion of the process, relevant files will be placed before Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain for his decision and then the CJ may send the cases to HC benches for hearing, he said.
The SC spokesman could not specifically say how much time will be needed to complete the procedures and when the hearing will begin.
Saifur could not tell the present status of Nusrat murder case.
Contacted, Deputy Attorney General Bashir Ahmed told this correspondent that the chief justice in February assigned an HC bench led by Justice Soumendra Sarker to hold hearing and dispose of the death reference and appeals of the murder case.
But, the bench was later reconstituted, he said, adding that the CJ may now assign another HC bench.
THE 3 CASES
SC sources said the murder case, filed over the grenade attack in 2004, has 585 paper books containing around 10,500 pages in 13 volumes.
Twenty-two appeals were filed by convicts through lawyers while 12 appeals through jail authorities.
The case, filed separately under the Explosives Substances Act, has 495 paper books containing 10,000 pages in 11 volumes. The death references reached the HC on November 27, 2018. On January 13 last year, the HC accepted the appeals filed by the convicts.
A Dhaka court, on October 10, 2018, sentenced 19 people -- including former state minister for home affairs Lutfozzaman Babar -- to death, and 19 others -- including BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman -- to life imprisonment in the two cases.
At least 24 people were killed and around 300 injured in the grisly attack on an AL rally on Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004.
Meanwhile, a Dhaka court on November 27 sentenced seven militants to death for involvement in Holey Artisan Bakery attack case.
The July 1, 2016 terror attack left 22 people, including 17 foreigners, dead. Two police officers were also killed during a 12-hour standoff.
The case's paper book was submitted to the HC in August.
In Nusrat murder case, a Feni court on October 24 last year gave death sentence to all 16 accused, including madrasa principal Siraj Ud Doula and two expelled local AL leaders.
Nusrat (19) lost her battle for life on April 10 last year, four days after she was set afire.
The case documents reached the HC on October 29 last year, as a death reference. Later, convicts including Siraj filed appeals with the HC, seeking acquittal of the charges.