The government has given up the hope of getting a short order of the Supreme Court judgment upholding death penalty of Jamaat-e-Islami leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman for committing crimes against humanity.
"We have no way but to wait for the full text of the verdict which, we expect, will not be delayed," Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told The Daily Observer on Saturday. According sources, the judges have started writing the complete verdict. The full text of the judgment is expected to come within two or three weeks.
The SC will send the judgment to the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-2, the trial court. The ICT-2 will issue a death warrant after receiving the SC's order confirming the death penalty.
After issuance of the death warrant, the government will execute the verdict. The jail authorities took only four days to hang war criminal Quader Molla after receiving his death warrant. Two days elapsed due to filing of review petitions in his defence.
The SC released the full text of its verdict on Quader Mollah on December 5, just after 78 days of delivering the judgment. ICT-2 issued the death warrant on December 8. The jail authorities were about to hang him on December 10. The defence lawyers, however, secured an SC order of stay on the execution barely hours before announced time of execution.
They filed two review petitions with the SC the following day (December 13). The same Appellate bench, headed by the Chief Justice, heard the arguments of both the sides and ultimately dismissed the review petitions in the afternoon of December 12. The convict was executed after few hours (at 10.01 PM).
The SC ordered to hang Quader Mollah on September 17, 2013. The order was executed just after two months and 25 days.
The question of right to seek review has re-arisen, as the government wanted to execute Kamaruzzmaan after obtaining a short order of the SC verdict.
Apprehending possible delay in releasing the full judgement of the Appellate Division, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam requested the SC to deliver a short order of death penalty. The SC, however, did not deliver any such order.
"The ICT-2 will not issue death warrant until it receives any order from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC)," Deputy Registrar of the Tribunal Arunava Chakraborty told The Daily Observer recently.
The authorities of the Dhaka Central Jail already took preparations to hang Kamaruzzaman as per government order. But he was not executed as the tribunal did not issue death warrant without getting the SC order.
Rumours of 'any time execution' of the convicts spread on November 5. Some movements of the functionaries and remarks of responsible persons led to the spread of such rumours.
The death row prisoner was shifted to Dhaka Central Jail from Kashimpur Jail on November 4. Ten family members were allowed to meet him in the jail in the morning of the following day.
The stage was prepared in the Dhaka Central Jail for execution and the jail authorities organised a rehearsal for execution. A panel of three hangmen -Shahjahan, Joni and Raju who are life term prisoners -were kept ready.
Mahbubey Alam on that day told journalists that the execution of death row convict Muhammad Kamaruzzaman is only "a matter of time."
"I cannot agree that jail authorities cannot do anything before getting the full verdict," the AG said.
About the presidential clemency, the Attorney General said Kamaruzzaman can seek the mercy and for that he did not need the full verdict but he must admit his guilt.
He said war crimes convicts do not have the right to move any review petition with the apex court. However, defence lawyers told journalists that the government cannot execute the verdict without giving the convict a chance to seek review of the verdict.
Kamaruzzaman was sentenced to death by ICT-2 on May 9 last year. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on November 4 upheld the ICT-2 verdict.