Dhaka – A petition seeking the presidential mercy by one of the self-declared killers of Bangladesh’s independence architect Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was rejected.
President Abdul Hamid rejected the petition filed by retired army officer Abdul Majed, who was captured on Monday more than 21 years after he and 11 other former army men were handed down with firing squad deaths for killing the Bangladesh’s founder.
Majed was served with death warrant soon after he was arrested in Dhaka’s Mirpur neighbourhood that followed his filing of mercy petition.
“The President has rejected his plea for mercy,” home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said adding that there was no bar now in executing the convict.
The prison authorities will take steps to hang the convict as soon as possible as per the law, the home minister said without giving a timeframe.
Majed was sentenced to death along with 11 other ex-military officers by the Dhaka District and Sessions Judge’s Court in 1998 while the verdict was subsequently upheld by the High Court and the Supreme Court’s apex Appellate Division.
Dhaka’s District and Sessions Judge Helaluddin Choudhury issued the death warrant opening the court with Supreme Court’s special permission” in view of COVID-19 holiday as Majed was brought before him from jail under heavy security escorts.
The judge read out the charges and original judgment issued in 1998 by the same court in line with the legal procedures ahead of issuing the death warrant, meaning clearance on the trial court’s part for jail authorities to hang him.
Majed had been hiding in neighbouring Indian state of West Bengal for at least 21 years. He was captured by a specialsied police unit as the officials said when he was returning home from the hiding.
Majed is one of the six absconding ex-army officers who were handed down capital punishment after trial in absentia.
Law minister Anisul Huq, who was a key prosecution lawyer of Bangabandhu Murder Trail, earlier said that Majed now had no scope to challenge the judgment.
“The original verdict was delivered in 1998 which was confirmed by the High Court under a mandatory legal procedure,” Huq said.
A disgruntle group of army officers assassinated Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family on August 15, 1975. The trial of the killers was never initiated until Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu, assumed office in 1996. Five other convicts were hanged in line with the 1998 court verdict in 2010 after Hasina returned to power for the second time.