The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Sunday stayed the execution process of death row convict, Shukur Ali, in a case filed over the rape and murder of a teenage girl until the full verdict of the Appellate Division is published.
The apex court also asked the Attorney General to talk to the Inspector General of Prisons so that the jail authorities don't execute any convict before the release of the full verdict. At the same time, the appellate court asked the accused Shukur Ali to apply for review following the legal process.
A five-member virtual bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain passed the order.
Advocate Helal Uddin Mollah appeared for the accused in the court on Sunday while Attorney General AM Amin Uddin represented the state.
On 18 August this year, the Appellate Division upheld the death penalty of Shukur Ali and commuted death sentences of three others to life imprisonment in a case filed for abduction, rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl in Lalnagar of Kushtia's Daulatpur upazila.
Lawyer Helal Uddin said, "After receiving the advance order of the verdict of the Appellate Division, the Kashimpur jail authorities took initiatives to execute Shukur Ali. As part of this, they made the death row convict to seek presidential mercy to save his life but the president rejected the plea."
He said the full verdict of the Appellate Division was yet to be published and they were taking preparation to file a review petition. In the meantime, the family of the accused on 6 November informed the lawyer about the initiative to execute the death penalty.
When he was informed about the initiative to execute the death penalty, he contacted the jail authorities and asked them to produce a full judgment and review application with the Appellate Division, said Helal, adding, "They [jail authorities] cannot take any initiative to carry out the execution before the full verdict of the Appellate Division is released. Besides, the accused has to be given the opportunity to apply for a review as well."
"I informed the Appellate Division about the issue. After hearing my argument, the Appellate Division asked the authorities to suspend the execution of Shukur Ali."
After hearing the arguments, the chief justice, addressing Chief Justice Attorney General AM Amin Uddin, said, "You will talk to the IG (Prison) so that the death sentence is not carried out before the full verdict is released."
The court also said convict Shukur Ali has a right to seek review of the apex court verdict and presidential mercy to save his life. If his mercy appeals are rejected, the jail authorities can execute the death sentence, the court said.
The advance order, based on which preparations were taken to execute Shukur, was issued for the convicts whose sentences were commuted to life imprisonment to transfer them to the regular cell from the condemned cell, said the court.
According to the case statement, on the night of 25 March 2004, the accused abducted the child on her way home after watching television at a neighbour's house in Lalnagar village of Daulatpur upazila. They killed the child after raping her.
The following day, the victim's father filed a case with Daulatpur police station in connection with the incident.
Following the trial of the case, Judge Akbar Hossain of the Kushtia Women and Child Abuse Suppression Tribunal on 4 February 2009 sentenced five people to death.
The five convict are Shukur Ali, son of Khair Ali of Lalnagar village; Kamu alias Kamrul, son of Abdul Gani; Nuruddin Sentu, son of Pijab Uddin; Ajanur Rahman, son of Abu Taleb; and Mamun Hossain, son of Sirajul Pramanik.
The documents (death reference) were later sent to the High Court Division of the Supreme Court for approval as per the rules. Besides, the convicts appealed challenging the lower court order. In the meantime, Kamu passed away.
After hearing the death reference and the appeal pleas, the High Court upheld the death sentence. The accused then appealed to the Appellate Division.