Bangladesh Islamist party chief’s plea against death term deferred

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Dhaka, April 3 (IANS) The appellate court here has deferred the hearing on a petition of Motiur Rahman Nizami, chief of Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party, to review the Supreme Court verdict upholding his death sentence.

After Nizami’s counsel pleaded for more time on Sunday, the Appellate Division bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha deferred the hearing by a week.

“We pleaded for six weeks, the court gave us one week. The matter will be heard after that,” Nizami’s lawyer S.M. Shahjahan told after the hearing.

Nizami, 72-year-old president of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, filed the petition on March 29 for review of the Supreme Court verdict that confirmed his death penalty for the 1971 war crimes.

In January, the apex court rejected Nizami’s appeal to overturn the International Crimes Tribunal’s 2014 verdict.

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As the head of the Jamaat’s student wing Islami Chhatra Sangha in 1971, Nizami commanded the Al-Badr, a militia known for its ruthless mass murders, rape, loot and the killing of Bengali intellectuals in support of Pakistan’s campaign to suppress the Bengali freedom struggle.

Review is the last legal recourse for a death-row convict after all other judicial options have been exhausted.

On March 16, the death warrant issued by the tribunal was read out to Nizami after the Supreme Court published the full copy of its verdict on him.

Nizami’s case is the sixth of the war crimes cases so far to reach the stage of a review petition after the publication of the full verdict.

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