Staff Correspondent
03:09 AM, July 20, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:10 AM, July 20, 2017

Shahidul Islam, the death row convict in Shazneen Tasnim Rahman rape and murder case, has sought presidential clemency, seeking any other punishment other than death penalty.

He sent the mercy petition to the home ministry on July 3 through the office of the Senior Jail Super of Kashimpur High Security Jail and the home ministry sent it to the maw ministry seeking its opinion thrice.

Muhibul Haque, additional home secretary, told Prothom Alo that they sent letters to the law ministry several times. Although they got opinion on other issues, the decision on Shahidul has been delayed.

Sending opinion as soon as possible is the normal procedure, he said.

Another high official of the ministry said as soon as they would get the opinion, they would send the letter to the president. It would not be possible to execute him unless they got the opinion.

Asked what his opinion would be, Law Minister Anisul Huq told Prothom Alo, “I won’t give opinion in favour of the accused. However, it is for the president to decide whether he would give clemency or not.”

In line with the jail code, May 24 was fixed for executing Shahid, according to a letter sent to the home minister from the jail. But he was not executed as the jail authorities did not get government’s nod, sources told the Bangla daily.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told the Prothom Alo that any convict could seek clemency and they would send the petition to the president following due procedure.

Under the constitution, the president has the jurisdiction to give someone clemency or commute punishment and he will make a decision in this regard, the minister said.

Shahid pleaded guilty when the trial court asked him if he would plead guilty or not.

Shazneen, a class-IX student of Scholastica, was raped and murdered at her Gulshan home on April 23, 1998. She was the daughter of Transcom Group Chairman Latifur Rahman.

On April 30, the Second Tribunal for Prevention of Women and Children Repression issued the death warrant for Shahidul, a week after the Supreme Court released its full verdict, rejecting his petition for reviewing its earlier judgment that upheld his death penalty.

Earlier on August 2 last year, the Appellate Division upheld the death penalty of Shahidul, a domestic help at Shazneen’s home.

But it acquitted four others — Syed Sajjad Mainuddin Hasan, a contractor for renovation of Shazneen’s house, his assistant Badal, and housemaids Estema Khatun Minu and Parvin.