Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain has recently assigned a High Court bench to hear and dispose of the death reference and appeals in 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 may fix a date on Sunday for starting hearing on the death reference and appeals, court sources 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 reaches as death reference to the HC from the lower court in seven days after the latter delivers the verdict.
Twelve death-row convicts out of total 14 in the 10 truck-arms haul case have filed separate appeals with the HC challenging the trial court verdict against them.
In the appeals, they prayed to the HC to acquit them of the charges, according to the sources.
On January 30, 2014, the Chittagong Metropolitan Special Tribunal-1 handed down the death penalty to 14 people, former minister and Jamaat-e-Islami Amir Motiur Rahman Nizami and former BNP state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar for smuggling 10 truckloads of firearms in 2004.
The 14 convicts were also given life term imprisonment in another case filed for possessing illegal firearms.
Nizami was executed on May 11, 2016 after the Supreme Court upheld his death penalty for committing crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War in 1971.
Meanwhile, another HC bench of Justice Jahangir Hossain Selim and Justice Md Jahangir Hossain is set on Sunday to start hearing the death reference and appeals in another sensational case filed for attempting to assassinate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by planting a bomb weighing 76kg in Gopalganj's Kotalipara in July 2000.
A Dhaka court on August 20 last year sentenced 10 leaders and activists of Harkatul Jihad al-Islami to death, one to life imprisonment and three to 14 years’ imprisonment in the case.
Seven of the convicts have filed separate appeals with the HC challenging the trial court verdict on them, court sources said.