BANGLADESH: PRESIDENTS SAVED 30 FROM GALLOWS BETWEEN 2001-2013
March 5, 2014: Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said a total of 33 people, who were sentenced to death from 2001 to date, received presidential mercy. The Minister gave the figure in parliament in response to a question of Jatiya Party lawmaker Peer Fazlur Rahman.
Of the 30 convicts, 23 were acquitted while the capital punishment of six was commuted to life term and one was awarded 10-year jail term, he added.
During the BNP-Jamaat allianceās 2001-06 tenure, the President granted clemency to one and awarded life term to another in 2005.
Two other death row convicts got clemency during the 2007-08 military-backed caretaker government. Their death sentences were commuted to life term in 2007.
During the Awami Leagueās 2009-13 tenure, then President Zillur Rahman granted clemency to 22, while three were handed life term and one 10 years imprisonment. Of the 22, 21 had been condemned to death in a single murder case in 2010. The Bangladesh Awami League is the country's current governing party, after winning a majority at the January 2014 parliamentary elections.
According to Article 49 of the Constitution, the President shall have the power to remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authorities.
In April 2012, the High Court said in a verdict that the powers of the President to pardon, suspend or remit sentences of any convict should be exercised fairly and on unbiased relevant principles.
As of 6 November 2013, there were 1,102 convicts on death row in Bangladesh. (Sources: thedailystar.net, 06/03/2014)