There were two appeals with the Supreme Court, claiming the same – that Mokim and Jharu, two Chuadanga residents, did not commit the murder for which they were sentenced to death by a lower court, which was subsequently upheld by the High Court.
One of the appeals, filed in 2016 by the jail authorities, proceeded to the next legal course, the appeal hearing, and a following mercy petition with the president.
With all the legal steps covered, the two men were hanged in Jashore Central Jail in 2017, despite the first appeal filed in 2013 by the family of the convicts still awaiting disposal.
As the 2013 appeal popped up in the Appellate Division cause list on Wednesday, causing a stir in the media, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin said the execution of the two death row convicts had followed all the required steps.
"They were hanged as the jail appeal was disposed of on 15 November 2016 and the president subsequently turned down their mercy petitions," Amin Uddin told reporters on Thursday.
The convicts were executed on 16 November 2017. The attorney general held the family-appointed lawyer responsible for not notifying the court, seeking the hearing of both appeals simultaneously.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal also told reporters at the Secretariat Thursday that the executions were carried out after the completion of all the prior steps.
The attorney general said, "Our country still has the analogue trial system. It has not been digitised enough yet, so everything will not appear before the court just with a click. I think it was the duty of the lawyers to notify the court that there was another appeal filed by the family."
Humayun Kabir, the family-appointed lawyer for the convicts, told The Business Standard, "I heard about the jail appeal just today [Thursday]. But since our appeal is pending, I cannot comment on the case."
Nahid Sultana, the state-appointed lawyer for the hearing of the 2016 jail appeal, said she was also unaware of the criminal appeal that had been filed before the jail appeal was logged.
"No one told the court or me about the criminal appeal. Maybe the lawyer for the two convicts was not sincere about the case," the lawyer added.
Criminal law expert Advocate ZI Khan Panna also said the lawyer who filed the criminal appeal should have monitored the case updates properly.
"Lawyers arbitrarily charge exorbitant fees for hearing of such appeals. They do not look into the cases unless the families pay. This could have happened here too," he added.
Another criminal law expert, Advocate Munsurul Haque Chowdhury, told TBS that the Supreme Court should take the initiative to look into the matter.
According to the case documents, Monwar Hossain, a former local member of the Kumari union parishad in Alamdanga, was murdered in 1994. A case was filed against 26 individuals, including Mokim and Jharu.
The district court in 2008 sentenced three people to death, including Mokim and Jharu, two to life imprisonment and acquitted the other accused.
In July 2013, the High Court upheld the death sentence of the duo as the third and the rest of the accused were acquitted.