Dhaka – The Supreme Court has resumes hearing on Mir Quasem Ali’s plea to review his death penalty awarded for crimes committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of liberation from Pakistan, court officials said.
A five-member panel of judges headed by Chief Justice SK Sinha began the hearing in the morning as the court on Wednesday adjourned its proceeding rejecting a time-petition by the defence.
Khandker Mahbub Hossain moved for the argument hearing on behalf of death row convict Quasem while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam stood for the state side to put his arguments.
Quasem Ali, 64, one of Bangladesh’s business tycoons and financier of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, was handed down with death penalty by a special war crimes tribunal on November 3, 2014 for wartime crimes against humanity.
He was one of the leaders of the then Islami Chhatra Sangho, the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, and aided the Pakistan military to carry out atrocities on unarmed civilians.
An appeal court upheld his death penalty and then he filed the review of the judgment.
Earlier, the apex court deferred until August 24 the hearing on a petition and set the date for review hearing.
Once the review petition is settled by the SC, then the only option will remain for war crimes convict to seek presidential mercy before execution.
Quasem Ali joined Islami Chhatra Sangha in 1967 while he was studying at Chittagong Collegiate School.
He later became its Chittagong city unit general secretary and played key role in forming al-Badr Force that established makeshift torture camps at different places in the port city to bring in civilians and carry out atrocities.
The special war crimes tribunal set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010 to prosecute the local agents of the Pakistan army responsible for the war-time atrocities.
Motiur Rahman Nizami, chief of Jamaat-e-Islami party, Ali Ahsan Mumannad Mujahid, Kamaruzzaman, Abdul Kader Mollah of the same party and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury were hanged for crimes against humanity.
Bangladesh says an estimated 3 million people killed, 200,000 women raped and numerous homesteads torched in the then eastern part of Pakistan during the liberation war.
An earlier initiative to prosecute the war crimes was called off after the assassination of Bangladesh’s founding President Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975 in a military putsch.