Bangladesh SC adjourns Islamist's death penalty hearing

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 11, 2013 13:50 hrs

Dhaka, Dec 11 (IANS) The Bangladesh Supreme Court Wednesday adjourned the hearing on the acceptability of the review petition filed by Jamaat-e-Islami Party leader Abdul Quader Mollah, who was to be executed for war crimes Tuesday.

Assistant secretary general of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami Party Abdul Quader Mollah was scheduled to be hanged a minute after midnight Tuesday.

But a last-minute attempt by his lawyers saw the Supreme Court Chamber Judge stay the execution until 10.30 a.m. Wednesday, which now has been halted until further notice.

The apex court adjourned the hearing till Thursday morning, Xinhua reported.

US Secretary of State John Kerry Wednesday called Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to convey that the execution of Mollah might lead to events which could derail the parliamentary elections in the country, The Daily Star reported.

"I can confirm Secretary Kerry spoke with Sheikh Hasina Wednesday about current events in Bangladesh," the report quoted US Embassy spokesperson Kelly McCarthy as saying.

Just about one-and-a-half hours before the hanging, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, a chamber judge of Supreme Court, stayed the execution of Mollah.

The defence counsels submitted a petition to the chamber judge against the verdict of the apex court that sentenced Mollah to death for committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.

During Wednesday's proceedings, the court said the whole matter regarding the execution of Mollah was within the jurisdiction of this court.

A five-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain adjourned the hearing till 9 a.m. Thursday despite a petition filed by the attorney general's office Wednesday praying to the apex court to vacate the stay order of the chamber judge.

Justice Hossain was one of the five members of the Appellate Division bench that sentenced Mollah to death, overruling the judgment of International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-2 that had earlier awarded him life.

According to sources, the adjournment means Mollah cannot be executed until a further order.

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