Dhaka, Jan 6: The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday upheld the death sentence of war criminal Jamaat Ameer Matiur Rahman Nizami, who orchestrated the massacre using his ruthless Al-Badr militia and his crimes against humanity during the War of Liberation in 1971.
A four-member bench of the Appellate Division, headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, delivered the verdict in a jam-packed courtroom amid tight security in and around the apex court.
The other judges of the bench are Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Hasan Foez Siddique.
Nizami and his brutal Al-Badr activists would break into universities and college hostels with ‘kill lists’ figuring intellectuals and professors committed to the cause of secular Bengali identity and murder them.
Many of them were kidnapped and murdered a few days before the ultimate victory on December 16, 1971.
The Appellate Division upheld the International Crimes Tribunal-1 (ICT-1) order that sentenced Nizami to death for committing crimes against humanity, including genocide and murder of intellectuals, during the war.
Meanwhile, the apex court upheld Nizami’s death penalty for three of the four counts of charges while he was acquitted for the rest one.
The SC upheld his life term imprisonment for two charges, out of four for arrest, detention, torture, and murder of three people, including head Maulana Kasim Uddin of Pabna Zila School on June 4, 1971, complicity in torture, murder and rape at Mohammadpur Physical Training Institute in Dhaka, and murder of Badi, Rumi Jewel and Azad at Old MP Hostel in Dhaka on August 30, 1971.
The Appellate Division acquitted the Jamaat leader of two other charges.
On December 8 last, the SC fixed today (January 6) for delivering the verdict on the appeal filed by condemned Nizami challenging the death penalty for his crimes against humanity during the war in 1971.
Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami has called a countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal for Thursday, protesting the SC’s verdict that upheld death penalty for its party leader Matiur Rahman Nizami.
In a statement sent to media house, the party announced the hartal after the verdict on Wednesday.
Earlier, the defence placed their arguments on November 30, December 1 and 2 while the prosecution completed placing arguments on December 8.
On October 29, 2014, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 sentenced Nizami to death for committing crimes against humanity, including genocide and the murder of intellectuals, during the Liberation War.
The tribunal sentenced Nizami, the 1971 commander-in-chief of Al Badr, a secret killing squad of Jamaate-e-Islami, the capital punishment each on four counts of charges of war crimes, terming Al Badr a criminal outfit.
Nizami filed an appeal challenging the death sentence and claimed himself innocent and sought to be cleared of the charges on November 23, 2014.