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Political leader at imminent risk of execution

AI UK Delara Darabi flower laying protest
days left to take action

Following the issuance of a death warrant, the defendant’s lawyer can file for a review petition (reviewing the legality of the appeal decision). It is a very narrow window, which has proved ineffective in all ICT-related death sentences in the past and is likely to result in the similar outcome for ATM Azharul. The filing of the review petition can borrow additional few weeks for Mr Azharul; otherwise he is facing an imminent execution.

In 2019, the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) sentenced 14 people to death. The total death sentences in 2018 were 319, according to an Amnesty International report. The ICT is a Bangladeshi court set up by the Government of Bangladesh in 2010 to investigate mass scale human rights violations committed during the country’s independence war against Pakistan in 1971. Amnesty International welcomed the Government’s move to bring those responsible to justice but insisted that the accused should receive fair trials without recourse to the death penalty. The proceedings of the Tribunal in previous cases were marked with severe irregularities and violations of the right to a fair trial. 

Article 6 (1) of the ICCPR, to which Bangladesh is a State Party, protects against the arbitrary deprivation of life, which is absolutely prohibited under customary international law. The UN Human Rights Committee has stated that the imposition of a sentence of death after a trial which does not comply with standards for fair trial set out in the ICCPR is a violation of the right to life. The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions has underlined that “it is arbitrary to impose the death penalty where the proceedings do not adhere to the highest standards of fair trial.” 


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