Mujib killers’ execution only after review petitions

Dhaka, Nov 23 ( Bangladesh has rejected Amnesty International’s appeal against execution of five former army officers convicted for the murder of founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. However, the government will not carry out the hangings until the review petitions are disposed of by the Supreme Court, authorities said.

The jail officials Monday said that should the five men seek presidential pardon as provided under the constitution, they would await response from the highest office for 15 days. Six other former army officers, whose death sentence has also been upheld, are absconding.

Lawyers for the five former army officers, now in prison, who killed Mujib and a score of his family members and political associates Aug 15, 1975, have told the government that they would appeal for a review of the Nov 19 verdict, Star Online reported Monday.

Home Minister Sahara Khatun rejected the appeal by the Amnesty International that the death sentences be converted to life imprisonment on the plea that one human rights violation (the killings) should not be followed by another of hanging the convicts.

Mujib’s killing was a ‘stigma’ on the nation and “the stigma will not be erased until the Supreme Court’s 19th Nov verdict is implemented”, Khatun was quoted as saying after chairing an inter-ministerial meeting related to security matters.

The minister’s views about punishment to the convicts were echoed by the chief state counsel in the case, Anisul Huq. He asked Amnesty International to refrain from making request for commuting the death sentence on the former army officers convicted of the murder.

Huq said if they are interested to seek presidential mercy, they have to submit mercy petitions to the president within seven days after the jail authorities inform them about the judgment.