Saturday, February 4, 2023

    Bangladesh chief justice says death sentence doesn’t end crimes

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    Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain says society cannot be freed from crimes by simply delivering death sentences and other penalties in trials.
    Courts must resort to the capital punishment in cases where it is appropriate, the top judge said on Tuesday during the appeal hearing of Md Jasim Bari, who was sentenced to death on charges of killing his child.

    Jasim’s sentence was reduced to a 10-year jail term by the virtual appeals bench comprising six judges.

    “Sentence and hanging do not save society. The state of our law and order is not worse than in India. India delivered 121 death sentences in 2019, while we delivered 327,” the chief justice said when Deputy Attorney General Biswajit Debnath mentioned examples of cases in India.

    “Have the killings of wives stopped? These cases don’t even require witnesses. The husband is sentenced to life in jail or death as soon as the prosecution brings in medical reports.”

    “I think there should be a statistical analysis. Husbands are penalised in 80 percent of the cases. We are delivering life sentences or death sentences, but are the murders of wives declining?
    “So the idea that delivering sentences will purify our society is wrong,” Hossain.

    In July 2008, a trial court sentenced Jasim to death on charges of killing his four-year-old child Shamim in 2007 in a case filed by his wife Fatema Begum.

    The High Court upheld the verdict in 2013 after hearing Jasim’s appeal and death reference. Jasim, who has been in prison since 2007, then challenged the High Court verdict in the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division.

    The virtual bench led by the chief justice partially granted the appeal.

    Jasim has already been in jail for 10 years, so the top court ordered the authorities to set him free if there is no other case against him.

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