"The hearing is adjourned until Thursday," Chief Justice Muzammel Hossain said at the hearing of a defence plea by the lawyers of Mollah, sentenced to death for committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

The court has put on hold the execution of the war crimes convict until further notice. The apex court's chamber judge Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain late on Tuesday night, in a last-minute order, halted the execution of Mollah until 10:30 am (local time). Mollah's lawyers obtained the stay order approaching the judge at his residence.

The execution of the death penalty of Mollah was stayed less than two hours before he was set to be hanged. The stay order came as jail officials prepared to hang Mollah, 65, at one minute past midnight. The family members of the death row convict met him for the last time earlier on Tuesday evening.

Mollah's counsel rushed to Dhaka Central Jail with a copy of the stay order issued at 10:15 pm (local time). The order was issued after Mollah's lawyers filed a plea seeking the hearing of their petition for a review of the apex court's judgement that handed down the death penalty to the Jammat leader.

Chief Justice Mohammad Muzammel Hossain earlier on Wednesday told the defence lawyers to "cooperate with the court". "You are a senior lawyer, you know the law, you should cooperate with us," he told chief defence counsel Khandker Mahbub Hossain.

Mollah's lawyers said they obtained the stay order last night on their petition claiming that the government took preparations to execute Mollah "without finishing all legal procedures". For his atrocities carried siding with Pakistani troops during the 1971 Liberation War, Mollah was dubbed as the "Butcher of Mirpur".

The war crimes tribunal sentenced Mollah to life imprisonment on February 5. The Appellate Division revised the verdict on September 17 and raised it to death penalty. Based on the highest court's verdict, the tribunal issued the death warrant for Mollah.


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