The Supreme Court has upheld its previous verdict on convicted war criminal and also Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid, rejecting his plea for reviewing death penalty.
The four-member apex court bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha confirmed the capital punishment of the 69-year-old Jamaat leader on Wednesday, who served as social welfare minister (technocrat) during the BNP-Jamaat alliance’s 2001-06 tenure.
On July 17, 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal 2 ordered to hang Mujahid by the neck for the massacre of intellectuals including scientists, academics and journalists, and his involvement in the murder and torture of Hindus during the war.
He was found guilty in five out of the seven charges and sentenced to death in two of them.
The Jamaat leader was arrested on June 29, 2010 on charges of hurting religious sentiment and defying court orders. He was later shown arrested in the war crimes case on August 8. The tribunal indicted him on June 21, 2012.
Mujahid appealed against the tribunal verdict on August 11, 2013 and the hearing began on April 29 this year. The hearing continued for nine working days and ended on May 27.
On June 16, 2015, the Appellate Division delivered its judgement, upholding death for the Jamaat secretary general.
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The International Crimes Tribunal issued execution warrants for him on October 1, a day after the SC released the full verdict.
The tribunal had given him death sentence on the first charge of abduction and murder of journalist Sirajuddin Hossain.
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This punishment was merged with the sixth charge, related to the systematic killing of intellectuals at the fag end of the war.
But the Appellate Division took into account the first and the sixth charges separately.
In its judgement, the court acquitted the convict from the charge of abduction and murder of Sirajuddin but upheld the death penalty for the murder of intellectuals at the al-Badr torture camp set up at Mohammadpur Physical Training Institute of the capital.
On the sixth charge, the tribunal said during the war, members of Razakar and al-Badr Bahini would receive “training” at the camp.
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Mujahid used to visit the camp regularly with his co-leaders with an intent to annihilate the “Bangali population,” to design planning and conspired with the senior army officers at the camp.
Following such conspiracy and planning, the “killing of intellectuals” began from December 10, 1971.
Mujahid was the secretary of the then East Pakistan Islami Chhatra Sangha, then student wing of Jamaat, and subsequently became the head of al-Badr Bahini.
The tribunal had also sentenced him to death on the seventh charge of murder and torture of Hindus. The apex court, however, commuted it to life in prison.
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The Appellate Division upheld the life-term jail for Mujahid on the fifth charge, related to the confinement and torture of composer Altaf Mahmud, Jahir Uddin Jalal alias Bichchhu Jalal, Shafi Imam Rumi, Badiuzzaman, Abdul Halim Chowdhury Jewel and Magfar Ahmed Chowdhury Azad at an MP Hostel in the capital’s Nakhalpara area.
Mujahid had been sentenced to five years in prison for the abduction and torture of Ranjit Nath alias Babu Nath of Faridpur’s Khabashpur. The Appellate Division has upheld the punishment.
On October 14, Mujahid sought review of the SC verdict.
Mujahid's defence had not raised any point regarding the charge for which the Jamaat-e-Islami secretary general was sentenced to life in prison after the hearing of his review petition.
At the hearing of the review petition before the Appellate Division of the High Court on Tuesday, Mujahid’s lawyers only presented arguments against the charge for which the Al-Badr commander had been sentenced to death.