Bangladesh Supreme Court today deferred the review of petition of Motiur Rahman Nizami, chief of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, against his death sentence for committing war crimes during the 1971 independence war against Pakistan. After Nizami’s counsels pleaded for more time, the Appellate Division bench-led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha of the Supreme Court 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 said.
On March 29, the 72-year-old Jamaat-e-Islami chief filed the petition seeking review of the Supreme Court verdict, which confirmed his death penalty for 1971 war crimes. The next day, the State moved the Supreme Court’s chamber judge to expedite the hearing, when it forwarded the matter to a regular appeals bench and fixed Sunday for the hearing.
In January this year, the top court rejected Nizami’s appeal to overturn the International Crimes Tribunal’s 2014 verdict.
Nizami admitted in to have committed war crimes during the 1971 independence war against Pakistan but sought commutation of his death penalty to life imprisonment because of his old age.
The ICT had sentenced Nizami in October, 2014 to death after he was found guilty in eight of the 16 charges brought against him, and had noted in its verdict that the crimes he had committed intended to “demean the human civilisation.” According to official figures, three million people were killed during the nine-month-long independence war against Pakistan.