SC to hear Kamaruzzman’s review plea tomorrow
All eyes are on the Supreme Court, which is set to hold hearing tomorrow on a petition seeking review on death penalty of war criminal Muhammad Kamaruzzaman.
The apex court is also scheduled to start hearing tomorrow on two other appeals filed by war crimes convicts Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury challenging the capital punishment handed down to them for wartime offences.
Meanwhile today, Kamaruzzaman filed another petition with the SC seeking a four-week adjournment of hearing on his review petition.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told The Daily Star that the adjournment petition has been filed “intentionally” in order to delay the disposal of the review petition.
The petition was submitted to the SC this afternoon saying that Kamaruzzaman’s principal counsel Khandker Mahbub Hossain was “unable to conduct the hearing of the review petition due to his physical illness,” defence lawyer Shishir Manir told The Daily Star.
Both the review and adjournment petitions have been listed for hearing tomorrow at a four-member bench of the Appellate Division of the SC headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha.
Earlier on March 8, Kamaruzzaman filed a petition with the SC seeking a four-week adjournment of hearing on the review petition on the ground that Khandker Mahbub was “unable to conduct the hearing of the review petition due to unavoidable circumstances and personal difficulties”.
Following his March 8 adjournment petition, the SC on March 9 adjourned the hearing on the review petition and fixed April 1 (today) for holding its hearing.
Kamaruzzaman, the senior assistant secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami, filed the review petition on March 5 praying to the SC to scrap his conviction and acquit him of the charges.
On February 19, the prison authorities read out the death warrant to Kamaruzzaman after the International Crimes Tribunal-2 had issued it the same day.
On November 3 last year, the SC upheld the death penalty handed down on him by the tribunal on May 9, 2013 for his crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.
Today, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed filed a petition with the SC seeking a six-week adjournment of hearing his appeal on the ground that his principal counsel Khandker Mahbub Hossain was “unable to conduct the hearing of the review petition due to his physical illness”.
Both the appeal and adjournment petitions have been enlisted in today’s hearing list of the apex court.
The International Crimes Tribunal-2 on July 17, 2013 found the Jamaat-e secretary general guilty of five out of seven charges brought against him. The tribunal sentenced him to death on three charges, jailed him for life in one and sentenced him to five years in prison on another charge.
The convicted war criminal filed the appeal with the SC on August 12, 2013 seeking acquittal of all the charges.
BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury on October 29, 2013 appealed to the SC against a tribunal verdict that sentenced him to death for war crimes.
On October 1, 2013, the ICT-1 found the 65-year-old Salauddin guilty on nine of 23 charges of crimes against humanity and genocide committed during the country’s Liberation War in 1971.
Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah and Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik, who were involved in the apex court benches in dealing with three war crimes related appeals earlier, were excluded from the bench in hearing the appeals of Mojaheed and Salauddin.
The judges of the new bench are Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Hasan Foez Siddique.