DHAKA - Ten Bangladesh convicts on death row won the right to a final appeal against their conviction and sentence for war crimes, the country’s top legal official said Tuesday.
The Supreme Court ruled that the seven Islamists and three other convicts were eligible to seek review of their sentences, delivered by a controversial tribunal probing Bangladesh’s 1971 war.
Prosecutors had argued that convicts did not qualify for the additional appeal because they were convicted under the country’s special war crimes laws.  \“They will be allowed to seek review,” Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told AFP of the court’s ruling handed down earlier Tuesday. Meanwhile, an influential Bangladesh ex-minister surrendered to police and was jailed Tuesday after Islamists staged nationwide protests calling for his arrest and prosecution over remarks criticising the Hajj pilgrimage.
Abdul Latif Siddique’s surrender came a day after Islamists gave an ultimatum to detain him after he returned home Sunday following a long stay in India and the United States where he called the Muslim ritual Hajj a “waste” of manpower.
The accused “surrendered to police” early Tuesday afternoon, Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesman Masudur Rahman told AFP.
Dhaka’s Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s court then “sent him to jail as he did not seek bail”, public prosecutor Abdullah Abu told AFP.
Wild protests erupted at the court as hundreds of people, including lawyers, hurled abuse at the ex-minister, television footage showed.