(AA) – A Bangladeshi political leader, sentenced to death for war crimes, will be taking time to consider making an appeal for a presidential pardon.
The lawyers of Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, said on Thursday that he will take “reasonable time” to analyze the court order for his death.
“He will think about the next step. He will inform the authorities of his decision after thinking over the matter,” his lawyer Shishir Monir told reporters after a meeting with Kamaruzzaman in Dhaka Central Jail.
Having exhausted all other forms of appeal, seeking presidential clemency is the only remaining option to stay Kamaruzzaman’s execution.
Another Jamaat-e-Islami leader, Abdul Quader Mollah, chose not to seek mercy before his execution in 2013, reportedly because it could be seen as an admission of guilt.
If Kamaruzzaman is executed, he would be only the second person, after Mollah, to be executed for alleged war crimes committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence.
In May 2013, Kamaruzzaman was found guilty on five counts of crimes against humanity, including charges of mass murder, rape and abduction, by the International Crimes Tribunal, a special domestic court for investigating war crimes.
Kamaruzzaman has denied responsibility for the crimes and his family claims the trial process was unfair and impacted by political pressure.
Kamaruzzaman’s Jamaat-e-Islami party, which supported union with Pakistan, is accused of collaborating with the Pakistani Army during the nine-month war.
Jail authorities began to prepare for the 65-year-old’s execution after the Supreme Court rejected a petition for a review of his trial on Monday.
The United Nations and international human rights groups have called on Bangladesh to stay the execution.