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SC upholds Qaisar’s death penalty for war crimes

Published : Wednesday, 15 January, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 112

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the death sentence of former state minister for agriculture and Jatiya Party leader Syed Mohammad Qaisar for committing crimes against humanity including mass killing, murder
    and rape during the War of Liberation in 1971.
A four-member bench of Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain read out the summary of the verdict on Qaisar's appeal against the death penalty delivered by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT).
The court partially accepted the appeal, upheld death sentence in three charges out of seven in which the tribunal gave capital punishment to him.
It's the ninth case in the Appellate Division challenging the verdict of the International Crimes Tribunal.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam and Deputy Attorney General Biswajit Debnath represented the State while senior lawyer Khandaker Mahbub Hossain and lawyer SM Shahjahan appeared for the convict.
The convicted former state minister can file a petition with the Supreme Court seeking review of its judgment. The review petition will have to be filed after the convict would receive the certified copy of the judgment.
If the SC rejects the review petition, Qaisar can seek President's clemency. If the President does not grant the mercy petition, then the verdict of the death sentence will be executed.
Qaisar's counsel SM Shahjahan said, "We will seek review of the judgement after getting the written copy of the full text."
The three charges that brought him death in the Apex Court are participation in killing of 108 civilians in 22 villages of Nasirnagar upazila in Brahmanbaria, in killing of seven government staff of a food warehouse in Habiganj, involvement in rape of a woman at Jagadishpur village of Habiganj.
On December 23 in 2014, now defunct the International Crimes Tribunal-2 awarded death penalty to Qaisar in seven charges. The court also sentenced him to imprisonment till death in four charges and various terms in three other charges.
The Tribunal found him not guilty on two other charges as the prosecution failed to prove his involvement in two murders. All the sentences will merge into a single sentence of death, said the Tribunal.
Later on January 19 in 2015, he filed an appeal against the verdict of International Crimes Tribunal-2 with the Appellate Division seeking acquittal of the charges.
The Apex Court upheld death sentence in three charges, commuted death sentence to imprisonment to death in three charges and acquitted him from one of the death sentences given by the Tribunal.
The Appellate Division also upheld imprisonment to death in three charges out of four given by the Tribunal and acquitted him in one charge.
The Apex Court also upheld his sentence given by the Tribunal in two other charges for various terms and acquitted him from two charges in which the Tribunal sentenced him for various terms.
During the liberation war Qaisar was a Mulim League leader, formed a local militia in Habiganj, which guided Pakistani forces to villages to attack and abuse Hindus and supporters of Bangladesh's freedom fighters.
Towards the end of the Liberation War, Qaisar fled the country. Following the 1975 political changeover, he returned to Bangladesh in 1978. He contested the 1979 parliamentary polls as an independent candidate and became a lawmaker.

Qaisar later joined the BNP and became president of its Habiganj unit. In 1982, he was made joint secretary general of BNP. He then joined Jatiya Party and was elected a lawmaker from Habiganj-4 in 1986 and 1988.

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