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War crimes: SC upholds Qaiser’s death penalty

  • Published at 10:51 am January 14th, 2020
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File photo of Bangladesh High Court

A four-member Appellate Division bench, led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, delivered the verdict on Tuesday

The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the death sentence of former Jatiya Party State Minister Syed Mohammad Qaiser for his crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War.

A four-member Appellate Division bench, led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, delivered the verdict on Tuesday after hearing an appeal filed by [1] the war criminal, challenging the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)'s verdict that had sentenced him to death.

In December 2019, the Appellate Division fixed January 14 to deliver its verdict after concluding the hearing on the appeal. Qaiser filed an appeal against his conviction on January 19, 2015.

The now defunct[2]  ICT-2 had pronounced the death penalty for Qaiser on December 23, 2014, when the prosecution had proven seven charges against him. Qaiser was charged in another four cases for which he was awarded life imprisonment, and three cases for which he was awarded 22 years of imprisonment.

From the penalties given by the tribunal as the seven charges were proven, the apex court upheld the death penalty for three charges, awarded him life imprisonment in spite of the death penalty in three others charges, and acquitted him from another charge.

Defense lawyer SM Sahjahan said: “We will file for review after receiving the full text verdict of the appellate division's judgment.”

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said that the apex court has awarded the death penalty for the charge of helping Pakisatani soldiers rape Bangladeshi women in 1971. 

According to the law, after releasing the full text verdict, the tribunal will issue the death warrant. The jail authorities will read out the death warrant to the war criminal.

Qaiser can now file a petition with the Supreme Court, seeking review of its judgment. The review petition will have to be filed after the convict receives the certified copy of the judgment.

If the Supreme Court rejects the review petition, Qaisar can then seek the president’s clemency. If the president does not grant the mercy petition, then the verdict of the death sentence will be executed.