Apex court releases text of Mir Quasem review verdict
Published : 31 Aug 2016, 16:23
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court yesterday released the text of its earlier yesterday's verdict reconfirming the death penalty of 1971 war crimes convict and Al-Badr commander Mir Quasem Ali dismissing his review petition.
"This petition is dismissed . . .," read the concluding line of the 29-page verdict pronounced yesterday by a five-member apext court bench headed by Chief Justice SK Sinha.
Earlier in the morning, a five-member Appellate Division panel in its short judgment dismissed the review plea of 64-year-old death row convict, leaving him with only option to plead for presidential clemency as his last ditch effort to save his neck.
Supreme Court officials said in line with the procedure, the full script of the verdict with signs of all the five members of the bench was set to be sent to International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), which originally sentenced him to death for committing crimes against humanity, for subsequent course of action.
Earlier on June 19, the 1971 Al-Badr commander, notoriously known as Bengali Khan for his close association with Pakistani occupation army known as Khan Sena, filed the 68-page review plea to the department concerned of the apex court, seeking acquittal on 14 grounds.
On June 6, 2016, the apex court released the full text of its 244-page appeal judgment.
Mir Quasem later filed an appeal with the Appellate Division against his conviction. The apex court on March 8, 2016, upheld his death, with Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha pronouncing, "The sentence (of the tribunal) is maintained."
During the appeal and review hearings chief defence counsel Khandaker Mahbub Hossain pleaded for comminuting his capital punishment considering Ali's "contribution towards the economy of the country".
But the apex court in its final verdict yesterday observed that there was no scope for commuting his sentence as it found him guilty as "principal offender in committing crimes against humanity".
"...on consideration of the culpability of the petitioner disagreed with the opinion of the tribunal regarding the petitioner's culpability and found him guilty as the principal offender. Therefore, there is no scope to commute the sentence," the 29-page review verdict said.
It said "crimes against humanity are taken as serious types of offence" while the term 'crimes against humanity' meant "atrocious committed on a large scale".
"If any person commits crimes against humanity and if the court finds that the offender directly participated in such crimes the court is left with little discretion in awarding the minimum sentence particularly in respect of serious crimes," the apex court observed.
The verdict added: "The petitioner (Ali) was one of the organizers of Al-Badar force at Chittagong, and this force was raised with the aim and object of killing pro-liberation forces and minority community. The force was known as 'killing squad'."
The apex court in its observation also mentioned that the accused not only organized the force at Chittagong but also he had commanded the force and directly participated in the perpetration of most barbarous acts unknown to human civilization.
"He does not deserve any leniency on the question of sentence on consideration of the nature and gravity of the offence," it read.
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