Bangladesh’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a death sentence for top Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah for 1971 crimes against humanity, rejecting his review petition two days after his execution was dramatically put on hold in a last-minute reprieve.
“Rejected,” Chief Justice Muzammel Hossain ruled on Thursday at a packed courtroom after two days of hearing on the maintainability of the review prayers.
The verdict removes the last barrier for the execution of 65-year-old Mollah, who has been lodged at the high security Dhaka Central Jail.
A war crimes tribunal had sentenced Mollah to life imprisonment on February 5. The Appellate Division revised the verdict on September 17 and raised it to death penalty.
Based on the highest court’s verdict, the tribunal issued the death warrant for Mollah.
For his atrocities and for siding with Pakistani troops during the 1971 Liberation War, Mollah was dubbed as the “Butcher of Mirpur.”
The execution of the death penalty of Mollah was stayed less than two hours before he was set to be hanged on Tuesday.
The stay order came as jail officials prepared to hang Mollah at one minute past midnight.
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 judgement that handed down the death penalty to the Jamaat leader.
Mollah 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.”
Mollah, the fourth-highest Jamaat leader, was the first politician to be found guilty by the Supreme Court after it rejected an appeal to acquit him of all charges.