Kamaruzzaman gets time to decide on seeking mercy
Death-row war criminal Muhammad Kamaruzzaman has been given time to talk to his lawyers to consult whether to seek presidential clemency.
Shishir Monir, a defence counsel of the Jamaat assistant secretary general, told The Daily Star that authorities of the Dhaka Central Jail, where he has been kept, granted the defence a chance to talk to Kamaruzzaman at 11:00am tomorrow.
Earlier today, Kamaruzzaman was read out his verdict at jail around 6:00pm, sources inside the jail said.
At 5:44pm, Md Aftabuzzaman, deputy registrar of ICT, told The Daily Star he was en route to hand over the copy of the verdict to prisons authority and Dhaka district magistrate.
The registrar office of the International Crimes Tribunal received the 36-page verdict around 4:30pm after the Supreme Court dispatched it to authorities concerned.
Kamaruzzaman has no way out of the gallows except for seeking mercy.
Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik has written the draft of the verdict, which was approved by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha last night.
Earlier today, the draft was sent to the chief justice, Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah and Justice Hasan Foez Siddique. After scrutiny, they approved it.
The jail authorities cannot execute Kamaruzzaman unless they get a copy of the SC verdict, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told The Daily Star yesterday.
In May 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 handed Kamaruzzaman, key organiser of infamous Al-Badr force in greater Mymensingh in 1971, death for committing crimes against humanity, including mass killings in Sohagpur of Sherpur, during the Liberation War.
After he appealed against the verdict, the SC upheld the ICT decision on March 7. But the convict sought review of the judgment. Finally, his review petition was rejected on Monday by the four-member SC bench headed by the chief justice.
It left him with only one option – to seek presidential clemency.
As per the jail code, a convict gets a week to seek presidential mercy after the jail authorities receive the death warrant and communicates it to him. The death row convict is executed between 21 days and 28 days after receiving the SC order.
However, the jail code is not applicable to Kamaruzzaman as he was tried under a special law, the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act-1971, the attorney general told reporters on Monday.
As the SC ruling Monday, his family members were asked to meet him at the jail in the evening that day, which triggered speculations that the Jamaat leader might be executed the same day.
But the jail authorities could not proceed with executing the verdict as they did not get the copy of the judgement.