Appellate Division: No execution before full verdict is out

The top court has ordered the attorney general to tell the inspector general of prisons to not execute death-row convicts until the full verdict is published.

The order by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain came on Sunday after a lawyer informed the full Appellate Division bench that the prison authorities have started the process to execute a convict before the full verdict is released.

Citing a lawyer, some media outlets reported last week that two convicts were executed in 2017, before their appeals against the verdicts were disposed of.

Amid criticism, Law Minister Anisul Huq dismissed the report as “untrue” while speaking to the media on Thursday. According to him, the legal process was duly followed regarding the executions.

After the Appellate Division convened on Sunday, lawyer Yousuf Hossain Humayun referred to a case when Chief Justice Hossain said , “There have been a lot criticism over hanging cases. The cause list includes a matter of 2006. We had almost completed the matters of 2015 after finishing cases of 200, 2007 and 2008. But no we find that some matter of 2013 are still pending.”

Lawyer Helal Uddin Molla told the court then the process to execute his client has begun though the full Appellate Division verdict is yet to be published,

“We will file a petition for a review of the verdict. I seek the court’s intervention to halt the execution till then,” he said.

Molla said that the verdict, given on August 16, sentenced three people to life while upheld the death penalty for another convict.

When the court asked whether a review petition was filed, the lawyer replied that they are yet to get the documents. “It takes ten days to get the power of attorney through the office of the DC [deputy commissioner]. The convict’s mercy petition has been rejected due to an advance order. And the verdict is yet to be signed.”

Justice Hasan Foez Siddique then said that an advance order has been issued to move the convicts, whose death sentences have been commuted to life, to the regular cells from the condemn cells. “But the verdict is yet to be signed.” 

Lawyer Molla told the court then, “But the trial court in Comilla has issued a death warrant and forwarded it to the Kashimpur prison.”

Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain then said, “But it [the execution] cannot happen before the full verdict is out.”

The chief justice later told Attorney General AM Amin Uddin, “Tell the IG prisons not to execute [the verdict] until the full verdict is published.”

He also ordered the defence counsel to a file a petition for a review of the verdict.

Justice Muhammad Imman Ali told the attorney general, “Tell the IG prisons that a verdict is not completed until its signed.”

Attorney General Amin Uddin replied: “I have already told the secretary, will tell him as well.”

The Appellate Division in August this year affirmed the death penalty of Shukur Ali, and commuted death sentences of three others to life imprisonment for the abduction, rape and murder of 13-year-old Sabina in Kushtia in 2004.

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