Wednesday, December 7

Kamaruzzaman won’t seek mercy before review plea disposal

 Condemned war criminal Muhammad Kamaruzzaman will not seek presidential mercy until the Supreme Court disposes of his review petition to be filed with the apex court, a defence lawyer said today.

“Kamaruzzaman will decide about the presidential mercy after the Supreme Court disposed of his review petition,” Mohammad Shishir Manir, one of the counsels of the death row convict, said at a press conference at Supreme Court Bar Association this afternoon.

The Jamaat-e-Islami leader will file the review within 30 days after receiving the certified copy of the Appellate Division judgment that upheld his death penalty for wartime offences, Manir told reporters.

On November 3, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for Kamaruzzaman, a key organiser of the infamous Al-Badr Bahini responsible for abducting, torturing and killing freedom fighters, intellectuals and pro-liberation people in 1971.

Bangladesh government had said that Kamaruzzaman can be executed on the basis of an order of the apex court unless anything otherwise is stated in its full verdict.

The Dhaka central jail has already been asked to prepare for the execution of Kamaruzzaman.

However, the confusion over whether Kamaruzzaman has the right to seek a review was still unclear, but, both prosecution and defence said the perplexity would come to pass as soon as the full verdict of the apex court is available.

Law Minister Anisul Haque had said that Kamaruzzaman will get seven days time, from the day he heard his death verdict handed by the SC, to plead for presidential mercy. Otherwise, he will be executed immediately.

In this regard, Kamaruzzaman’s lawyer Manir said that the law minister’s comment on the time-frame was “illegal and confusing. We urge the minister to refrain from such comments.”

Kamaruzzaman’s defence counsel sounded confident about his right to review. “He (Kamaruzzaman) feels that his review will be accepted by the Appellate Division and he will get justice.” Manir said.

Kamaruzzaman’s defence counsel has alleged it would be illegal to execute the Jamaat leader before the full verdict and hoped that the government would wait for the full verdict before execution.

Meanwhile, international quarters, including two United Nations human rights experts and the Human Rights Watch, have already urged the government to stay Kamaruzzaman’s execution and grant the right to appeal against his death sentence.