SC releases full text of Mufti Hannan’s death penalty verdict

DHAKA, March 21, 2017 (BSS) - The apex court today released full text of its verdict rejecting review pleas of three militant leaders, including Mufti Hannan, in a case lodged over 2004 grenade attack on then British envoy in Bangladesh Anwar Chowdhury.

"The Appellate Division today released the five-page verdict after getting it signed by three judges, including the Chief Justice. We will send the copies of the verdict today to the High Court and the trial court concerned," said Md Sabbir Faiz, additional registrar (administration and judicial), of the High Court Division.

Earlier on March 19, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court dismissed the pleas of Hannan, chief of Bangladesh chapter of banned militant outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) and his associates Sharif Shahedul Alam alias Bipul and Delwar Hossain Ripon, paving the way for their execution for the gruesome attack in Hazrat Shah Jalal shrine in Sylhet on May 21, 2004.

Three people died and around 70 others, including the British envoy, were injured in the attack.

A three-member Appellate Division panel headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the order, dismissing the pleas of Hannan and two others to review its December 7, 2016, verdict, maintaining a High Court judgment upholding the sentences of a trial court awarding three of five accused death.

"The learned counsel fails to point out any error of law in the judgment of this court. We find no merit in these petitions. These review petitions are dismissed," said the review verdict.

The Sylhet Speedy Trial Tribunal, after examining 56 witnesses, passed the initial verdict of the case on December 23, 2008, sentencing three to death and life imprisonment to Mohibullah and Abu Jandal.

Following the jail appeals, the High Court on February 11, 2016, upheld death for the three, making Hannan and Bipul to lodge appeals with the apex court to save their necks.

As the Appellate Division too upheld the trial court verdict of death, Mufti Hannan on February 23, 2017, filed a plea with the apex court to review that sentence.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said now there is no legal bar in executing the three militants, including Hannan.

"Now they can only file clemency plea to the President as the last resort to save their necks. If they do not file the clemency pleas, the prison authorities can execute them after seven days and within 21 days of passing the judgment," said the chief law officer of the state said on March 19.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)