AG, defence differ on review appeal rightTapos Kanti Das and M Moneruzzaman
The attorney general and the defence have put up contradictory views over filing a review petition by war crimes convict Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla against the Tuesday’s Supreme Court verdict that ordered his death sentence.
On Tuesday, the Appellate Division sentenced Quader to death for committing 1971 war crimes.
A five-member bench headed by the chief justice gave the ruling by majority view allowing the government seeking death sentence for Quader Molla. The bench also unanimously rejected Quader’s appeal to cancel the life sentence handed on him by an International Crimes Tribunal.
Just after the verdict, attorney general Mahbubey Alam at a press briefing at his office said he thought that the Appellate Division sentence was the final sentence and
the convict might only seek mercy begging for his life to the president of the republic.
He said that the constitution’s Article 105 that stipulates ‘The Appellate Division shall have power, subject to the provisions of any Act of Parliament and of any rules made by that division to review any judgment pronounced or order made by it’ would not be applicable to Quader Molla.
The attorney general said that the Article 47 says that one accused of crimes against humanity shall have no fundamental right and that is why Article 105 would not be applicable for Quader Molla and he would not be able to file a review petition against the Appellate Division sentence.
Besides, he said, the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973 was a special law and the law does not allow any provision of review of any sentence.
But Abdur Razzaq, the chief defence counsel for Quader Molla, said it was the constitutional right of Quader Molla to file a review petition against the Appellate Division verdict in 30 days after receiving the full verdict. ‘And we will file a review petition against the sentence,’ he said.
At a press briefing, Razzaq termed the Appellate Division verdict awarding death sentence to Quader a ‘wrong sentence’.
He said that they would file the review petition against the sentence within 30 days of getting the full judgment of the Appellate Division to protect Quader’s constitutional rights.
He said that they were respectful to the apex court of the country and they were bound to obey the ruling but said that the sentence was against justice.
Razzaq said that the Appellate Division had awarded death sentence against an accused for the first time while the trial court had awarded him life imprisonment and it is unprecedented in the history of Bangladesh.
‘In our closing arguments, we said that there was no chance of finding Quader Molla guilty on the basis of evidences presented before the Court. But it is unfortunate that he was not only found guilty but also awarded death sentence,’ he said.
Meanwhile, law minister Shafique Ahmed at a press briefing at the secretariat echoed the AG’s comment and said that there was no scope for review of the death sentence to Quader Molla under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973 as it was a special law.
The war crimes convict, however, has only opportunity that he could appeal to the president seeking mercy but in that case he will have to confess his guilt, he said.
Prosecutor Tureen Afroz, talking to New Age, said she thought that Quader Molla would be able to file a review petition as ‘the ICT Act, 1973 has no provision to review a sentence and at the same time the act does not say one will not be able to file a review petition.’
She said that both the ICTs guided by the ICT Act, 1973 have been hearing and giving their decisions on review petitions.
Tureen said that the prosecution might need to file review petition to the Appellate Division in future if they were not satisfied with future sentence against other war crimes convicts.
A Supreme Court senior lawyer, Rafique-Ul Huq, on the other hand, referring to the Article 105 of the constitution and Appellate Division Rules, said that Quader Molla would be able to submit a review petition as they had no bar that an accused would not be able to file a review petition.
Anisul Huq, another Supreme Court senior lawyer, echoing Rafique-Ul Huq, said the convict would be able to pray for reviewing the Appelate Division sentence.
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