Dhaka, Dec. 10 (PTI): A Bangladeshi court tonight granted a last minute reprieve to senior Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah, staying his execution shortly before he was to be hanged for genocide during the country’s 1971 Liberation War.
“The chamber judge of the Appellate Division (of the Supreme Court), Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, ordered suspension of the execution of the death penalty until 10.30am tomorrow,” Supreme Court registrar A.K.M. Shamsul Islam said.
The stay order came as jail officials prepared to hang Mollah, 65, at one minute past midnight. The convict’s family members met him for the last time earlier this evening.
Mollah’s counsel rushed to Dhaka Central Jail with a copy of the stay order issued at 10.15pm, news channels reported.
The order was issued after Mollah’s lawyers filed a plea seeking the hearing of their petition for a review of the apex court’s judgment that handed down the death penalty to the Jamaat leader.
The war crimes tribunal sentenced Mollah to life imprisonment on February 5 for atrocities committed during the Liberation War.
The Appellate Division revised the verdict on September 17 and raised it to death penalty.
Based on the apex court verdict, the tribunal issued the death warrant for Mollah. The Jamaat leader was arrested on July 13, 2010, while the tribunal indicted him on May 28, 2012, on six specific charges for actively participating, facilitating, aiding and substantially contributing to the attacks on unarmed civilians, “causing commission of the horrific genocides, murders and rapes”.
The jail authorities, however, were yet to acknowledge the receipt of the stay order.