Bangladesh on Monday began countdown for the execution of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami as he was shifted to Dhaka Central Jail from a suburban prison even as the Supreme Court released its full judgement reconfirming his death penalty for 1971 war crimes.
“Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha and the three-other judges of the bench have signed the judgment dismissing his (Nizami’s) review plea... We have released the full text of the judgment” required for its execution, a Supreme Court spokesman told reporters here.
He said the copies of the final judgment were being sent to Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT-BD), which originally handed down the death penalty. The trial court would send the documents to Dhaka’s district magistrate and the prison department for “subsequent actions”.
The full judgement was released hours after the 73-year- old convict was move to Central Jail from a suburban prison, signalling that his execution was imminent.
Meanwhile, elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) forces overnight joined the police in riot gears to enforce a tight vigil around the Central Jail, where the officials said the noose was ready for him to be hanged.
“I can’t tell you when his (Nizami’s) death sentence will be executed but I want to say that the verdict will be carried out after exhausting all legal procedures,” home minister Asaduzzaman Kamal told PTI.
Nizami’s final appeal against his death sentence for war crimes committed during the 1971 Liberation War against Pakistan was rejected by the Supreme Court on May 5.
“He (Nizami) heard himself the news that the Supreme Court has rejected his final review petition (seeking reversal of its own previous judgment) as he has been provided with a one-band radio at his (prison) cell,” a prison official said.
He said prison authorities were ready to execute the apex court verdict soon after the copy of the court judgment reached them but the procedure required them to ask the death row convict if he wanted to seek presidential clemency.
Jamaat on Saturday, however, said: “question doesn’t arise at all to seek mercy to anybody else except Allah”.
Nizami’s his eldest son and lawyer Najib Momen supplemented the party statement, saying “he (Nizami) will not seek clemency to the President”.
Momen’s comments came after Nizami’s family members including his wife saw him in Kashimpur jail on May 6 when they were allowed to meet him for 40 minutes.
President Abdul Hamid has earlier rejected two such prayers by 1971 war crimes convicts, including Nizami’s top aide then, who were subsequently executed late last year.
A former minister in ex-premier Khaleda Zia’s BNP-led four-party coalition government, Nizami has been in jail since 2010, when he was arrested to be tried 1971 war crimes.
He was given capital punishment in October 2014 by the tribunal after being convicted of “superior responsibility” as the chief of the infamous Al-Badr militia forces in 1971.
He was particularly found guilty of systematic killings of over 450 people alone in his own village. Four politicians have so far been hanged for war crimes since 2010.