The Supreme Court of Bangladesh late Tuesday halted the execution of Abdul Quader Molla hours before the convicted war criminal was to be hanged, a leading Bangladesh daily reported.
The decision to halt the execution came after a petition by the counsels for the condemned Jamaat-e-Islami leader. The chamber judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, issued the order.
Mollah’s counsel Shishir Manir said that Justice Hossain did not consult Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain about the stay petition as the chamber judge has inherent powers to hear such urgent cases.
The jail authorities had completed all arrangements for Mollah’s execution, two days after International Crimes Tribunal-2 issued his death warrant.
Jail authorities have confirmed that the execution was halted after the apex court order.
However, State Minister for Law Qamrul Islam said the government would move the court to vacate the stay order. The hearing on the review petition would be held at a five-member bench of the appellate division Wednesday morning.
Earlier, an appellate division bench sentenced Mollah to death, overruling the judgment of International Crimes Tribunal-2 that had awarded him life imprisonment.
Mollah was sentenced to death for committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh. He was set to be executed at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights has written to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to halt the execution of the Jamaat-e-Islami leader, bdnews24.com reported.
According to a UN news release, the UN rights chief Navi Pillay Tuesday called for “an eleventh-hour stay” of Molla’s execution.