Molla execution stayed
SC full bench to hear stay petition todayM Moneruzzaman and Muktadir Rashid
Appellate Division Chamber Judge Syed Mahmud Hossain in a sudden move on Tuesday night stayed the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Molla until 10:30am today.
‘The execution has been stayed. The full bench of the Supreme Court will sit at 10:30am [today] to hear the matter of a stay application which has been filed by the defence before the chamber judge,’ Supreme Court registrar AKM Shamsul Islam, told New Age last night.
The stay order was issued hours after the government had ordered the jail authorities to execute Quader Molla, convicted of committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War, after midnight past Tuesday.
Attorney general Mahbubey Alam expressed his surprised at the news of the stay order. ‘I was not at home in the evening. I came to know about the stay order in television news after returning home. I am surprised. I do not want to make comments at the moment,’ the attorney general told New Age.
Quader Molla’s lawyers rushed to Justice Mahmud’s Kakrail residence in the evening with the stay petition shortly after the government announced that the Jamaat leader would be hanged one minute after midnight past Tuesday.
The lawyers led by Abdur Razzaq went to the jail gate with a copy of the stay order and handed it over to the prison authorities.
Forman Ali, senior superintendent of Dhaka Central Jail, late Tuesday night told reporters that they had received the copy of the stay order and taken steps accordingly.
Earlier on the day, the home minister had said that the execution would be done one minute after midnight past Tuesday.
‘War crimes convict Quader Molla will be executed tonight. The jail authorities have taken all preparations,’ state minister for home Shamsul Haque told a press briefing on Tuesday evening.
At a briefing at the ministers’ apartment in the city, state minister for law Quamrul Islam said, all legal options had already been exhausted.
‘When offered, Quader Molla refused to seek clemency in front of two magistrates. Moreover, we had thought defence lawyers would file an application seeking a review [of the Appellate Division] judgment before the chamber judge. But they did not avail of that opportunity in last three days,’ the junior minister said, also stating the war crimes convict had no such legal rights.
Forman Ali, senior superintendent of Dhaka Central Jail, said that five hangmen were kept ready to execute Quader Molla one minute after midnight past Tuesday.
Family members went to the jail at 8:00pm and met Quader Molla after the government decided to execute his death warrant without applying the jail code.
‘He [Quader Molla] told us that he would be hanged for his involvement in Islamic movement. He requested us to have patience,’ Quader’s eldest son Jamil Ahsan told reporters after coming out of the jail at 8:50pm.
Inspector general of prisons Moin Uddin Khandaker said that the jail code would not apply in the case of Quader Molla.
Border Guard Bangladesh personnel were deployed to the city as security was heightened before the execution.
Prime minister’s adviser Shafique Ahmed held a meeting behind closed doors with the state minister for home, the state minister for law, the inspector general of police and the IG (prisons) to examine the legal aspects of execution of the death warrant against Quader Molla.
After meeting his father, Jamil Ahsan told New Age that a deputy jailer with a letter had visited
their Maghbazar residence in the capital after asar prayers.
The letter only asked them to be present at the jail gate by 8:00pm Tuesday to meet his father, Jamil said.
In the morning, chief defence counsel Abdur Razzaq with lawyer Tajul Islam met Quader Molla, who instructed the lawyers to file a petition to the Appellate Division seeking review of his death sentence.
After the meeting, Abdur Razzaq in a news briefing said that Quader Molla would get 15 days to petition for presidential clemency. The 15 days, according to the latest jail code, would be counted from December 9 when Quader was informed about the death warrant.
Razzaq said he had advised Quader to seek presidential mercy, if he so wished, on December 21 or 22 before the 15-day time limit would expire on December 23.
He said they expected to meet Quader Molla on December 21 or 22.
In their next meeting, Quader is expected to inform the lawyers whether he would go for presidential clemency, Razzaq said.
Razzaq alleged that Quader was not provided with the copy of the Appellate Division’s verdict on his death sentence.
‘Quader Molla told us that he was innocent and that he had not committed any crime. The attempts to hang him are being made to eliminate the politics of Jamaat-e-Islami,’ said Razzaq.
At a separate briefing, the Dhaka Central Jail’s senior superintendent said that immediately after receiving a warrant for execution from the International Crimes Tribunal 2 on December 8, he had asked Quader Molla if he wanted to submit a petition for presidential mercy.
‘But he [Quader] did not clearly say anything,’ he said.
Forman Ali refuted the defence lawyer’s claims that Quader Molla would get 15 days to file petition for presidential clemency.
He said the 15-day time, as stated in the 2010 amended jail code, would not be applicable as the amendment had not been approved by the government.
Forman Ali, however, suggested application of the old jail code which stated that the mercy petition must be submitted in writing within seven days from the date of intimation of condemned convict concerned.
He said that the seven-day time period to submit a petition for mercy to the president had begun on December 8.
The senior superintendent, however, supported the opinion made by attorney general Mahbubey Alam and other government authorities to the media that the jail code and other criminal laws would not be applicable in case of execution of death warrant for war crimes.
The Appellate Division on September 17 sentenced Quader Molla to death on a government appeal against the Tribunal 2 verdict that on February 5 had sentenced him to life in prison.
The five-member Appellate Division bench delivered a majority verdict of four judges to one.
The tribunal issued the death warrant after the full text of the appeals verdict had reached the tribunal from the Supreme Court on Sunday. The Supreme Court released the full text on December 5.
The appeals court sentenced Quader to death for killing six members of the family of Momena Begum at Mirpur in Dhaka on July 26, 1971, the offence for which he had earlier been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Quader Molla along with his cohorts had surrounded the house of Momena’s father Hazarat Ali Laskar, killed her parents, her minor brother and three minor sisters and raped one of them because Hazrat Ali was an Awami League supporter and admirer of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the verdict observed quoting Momena.
Sheikh Mujib is the founding president of Bangladesh.
The tribunal verdict that was delivered on February 5 triggered a youth uprising at Shahbagh in Dhaka that spread across the country, with thousands demanding that he should be hanged for his crimes.
Amid the protests, the government on February 18 amended the law to allow the state to appeal against an acquittal and inadequacy of the sentence the tribunal ordered.
The tribunal acquitted Quader Molla of one count of crimes, sentenced him to life in prison on two counts and to varying terms of imprisonment on three counts.
The appeals court sentenced him to death on one of the counts for which he had earlier been jailed for life.
The chief war crimes prosecutor, Golam Arief Tipoo, on March 3 filed an appeal against the
‘inadequacy of the sentence’ of Quader Molla on five charges and against his acquittal of the other charge.
Quader Molla filed his appeal petition the next day seeking to be acquitted of all the charges.
Journalists surround the family of war crimes convict Abdul Quader Molla as they came to meet him at the Dhaka Central Jail on Tuesday. Ã¢€” Sanaul Haque
Abdul Quader Molla
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