The Supreme Court has upheld the death sentences of war-crime convicts Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.
Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Mujahid and BNP Standing Committee Member Chowdhury are now left with the option to seek presidential clemency.
The government will go ahead with the executions if the convicts refuse to seek mercy or if the president rejects their prayer.
A bench led by Chief Justice SK Sinha pronounced the verdicts after hearing the Salauddin Quader Chowdhury’s petition. In both cases, Justice Sinha said: “Dismissed.”
The Appellate Division bench had heard Mujahid’s petition on Tuesday and Chowdhury’s on Wednesday.
Mujahid’s party Jamaat-e-Islami has called for a 24-hour strike on Thursday to protest the death penalty.
BNP chairperson’s adviser Khandker Mahbub Hossain represented both war criminals, while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam stood for the state.
“The jail authorities will carry out the death sentences on government orders,” Alam told reporters. “But they (the convicts) will get the chance to seek mercy from the president.”
A special tribunal had sentenced Jamaat Secretary General Mujahid to death on Jul 17, 2013 for the murder of intellectuals and his involvement in the killing and torture of Hindus in 1971.
The former social welfare minister had appealed to the top court, seeking review of his death penalty but a bench led by Chief Justice Sinha upheld the tribunal’s verdict on June 16.
Chittagong’s wartime terror Salauddin Quader was sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal on Oct 1, 2013 for the mass killing and torture of Hindus and Awami League supporters.
The chief justice-led bench had upheld Chowdhury’s death penalty on July 29 after hearing his appeal against the tribunal decision.
It published the full appeal verdicts on Sep 30.
The tribunal had issued death warrants for the two. They were read out on Oct 1 to Mujahid at the Dhaka Central Jail and Chowdhury at the Kashimpur Jail.