The Supreme Court today upheld the death penalty to war criminal and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman for one charge but commuted the highest penalty to life term imprisonment for another charge.
A four-member SC bench headed by Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha delivered the verdict at 9:10am upholding the death of Kamaruzzaman for killing 164 people at Sohagpur village in Sherpur during the Liberation War in 1971 by majority view.
The apex court commuted his death penalty to life term imprisonment for killing Golam Mostafa at Gridda Narayanpur village in Sherpur.
The Jamaat senior assistant secretary general’s execution now depends on the release of the full text of the SC verdict. The jail authorities will start the process of his execution after getting the certified copy of the verdict.
As per jail code, the authorities execute convicted criminals after 21 and before 28 days from the day of receiving the SC order.
On May 9 last year, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 sentenced Kamaruzzaman, one of the key organisers of the infamous Al-Badr force, to death in two charges — for killing 164 civilians and raping several women at Sohagpur and killing Golam Mostafa at Gridda Narayanpur village.
SC VERDICT ON OTHER CHARGES
In its verdict, the apex court commuted the life term imprisonment ruling of ICT-2 and acquitted Kamaruzzaman of killing Badiuzzaman at Ramnagar village in Sherpur.
The SC upheld the life in prison verdict of the tribunal for Kamaruzzaman for killing Zahurul Islam Dara and five others on Gopalganj Road in Mymensingh.
The 10-year-jail punishment given by the tribunal for inhumanely torturing Syed Abdul Hannan was upheld at the apex court.
LEGAL EXPERTS’ OPINIONS
While talking to The Daily Star, some prominent legal experts said the jail authorities will now start the process for executing Kamaruzzaman on receiving the death warrant to be issued by the ICT-2.
Tribunal-2 will issue a death warrant immediate after receiving the copy of SC verdict, they said.
The jail code provision of 21 and 28 days will not be applicable in executing Kamaruzzaman since he was punished under International Crimes Tribunal Act 1973, the experts added.
On September 17 this year, on conclusion of hearing that went on for 16 days, the Appellate Division kept the appeal of Kamaruzzaman waiting for verdict.
Kamaruzzaman submitted his appeal to the SC on June 6 last year challenging the tribunal judgment and seeking acquittal on the charges brought against him.
The Jamaat leader was arrested on July 13, 2010, at the Supreme Court gate and later shown arrested in the crimes against humanity case. He has been behind bars since then.
This is the third time the Appellate Division of the SC delivered a verdict on an appeal against a tribunal’s judgment.
On September 17 this year, the apex court commuted the death sentence of Jamaat-e-Islami’s Nayeb-e Ameer Delawar Hossain Sayedee to imprisonment till death for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971.
The SC on the same date a year before handed down the death penalty to Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah for his crimes against humanity committed during the war. Mollah was executed on December 12, 2013.