A High Court bench yesterday refused to hear the death reference and appeals in the sensational 10-truck arms haul case in which 14 people, including former ministers, were sentenced to death.
The bench of Justice Bhabani Prasad Singha and Justice Mustafa Zaman Islam dropped the death reference and appeals from its hearing list and sent them to the chief justice for a decision, Deputy Attorney General Bashir Ahmed told The Daily Star.
He said the HC bench made the death reference and appeals “out of list” as Justice Bhabani Prasad Singha was a metropolitan sessions judge in Chattogram from January 18, 2009 to May 23, 2010 and he passed some interlocutory orders in the 10-truck arms haul case during the period. Justice Singha feels that he should not deal with the case now, DAG Bashir Ahmed said.
If a lower court sentences any person to death in a case, its judgment is examined by the HC through hearing arguments for confirmation of the death sentence. The case documents and judgment reach as death reference to the HC from the lower court in seven days after the latter delivers the verdict.
Twelve of the 14 death row convicts in the case have filed separate appeals with the HC challenging the trial court verdict against them.
On January 30, 2014, the Chittagong Metropolitan Special Tribunal-1 handed down death penalty to 14 people, including former minister and Jamaat Amir Motiur Rahman Nizami and former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar of BNP, for smuggling 10 truckloads of firearms in 2004.