The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has adjourned until Monday the hearing on a much-awaited review petition filed seeking death sentence for Delawar Hossain Sayedee, a notorious war criminal from Pirojpur known as “Deilya Razakar” in 1971.
A five-member bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha gave the order after a hearing. It also heard the convict’s prayer for acquittal on Sunday.
On April 6, the apex court set Sunday for the hearing.
Jamaat-Shibir men carried out processions in Dhaka and some districts on Saturday demanding the release of Sayedee.
This is the first case of a war crimes trial in which the state has sought review to maintain the tribunal’s verdict.
Sayedee is the nayeb-e-amir of Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist party that sided with the Pakistan Army during the 1971 Liberation War and committed war crimes. He was arrested from his house in Dhaka on June 29, 2010 in a case filed for hurting religious sentiments.
A firebrand orator, Sayedee is popular as well as criticised for his sermons on religion, secularism, politics and women. He is also accused of instigating militants to carry out a machete attack on secularist writer Prof Humayun Ahmed in 2004.
His death sentence, given by the International Crimes Tribunal on February 28, 2013, was commuted to imprisonment until death on September 17, 2014 by the Supreme Court.
The full verdict was published on December 31, 2015.
It was the first case to go on trial under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973.
The case faced great difficulties from its inception, having also been subjected to the greatest extent of conspiracies from quarters striving to derail the justice process, which include the abduction of a key prosecution witness, defence obtaining the register of prosecution witnesses in the safe house, hacking of personal computers of ICT judges and illegal interception of their personal communications, and murder of a key prosecution witness.
Moreover, Jamaat-Shibir men carried out mass scale violent attacks on religious minorities, Awami League supporters and law enforcers after the tribunal verdict, that killed over 100 people and damaged properties.
According to the state, the tribunal prosecutors failed to provide the necessary documentary evidence in Sayedee’s case during the appeal hearing.