The trial courts, in 2017, sentenced 410 persons to death on charges of murders and violation of the explosives substance act, the highest ever for any year since 2009.
The death row convicts were accused in 171 cases, officials in Supreme Court Registrar General’s Office told New Age.
Expressing concern over the high number of accused getting capital punishment, human rights campaigners demanded replacement of death sentence with other punishments.
They urged the government to ban death sentence just as many other countries did.
They said that human rights preconditions prohibit ending life by anyone including the state.
During the past nine years of the Awami League government’s rule, the High Court received 887 death references from the trial courts, Supreme Court officials said.
In 2009, the High Court received 83 death references.
The number of death references received by the High Court was 76 in 2010, 67 in 2011, 60 in 2012, 63 in 2013, 92 in 2014, 114 in 2015 and 161 in 2016.
Rights activist Sultana Kamal said that the essence of human rights requires abolition of death sentence.
She called for making a state policy to replace death sentence by life term until death.
Supreme Court Bar Association secretary AM Mahbub Uddin Khokon expressed concern over the highest ever number of death sentences handed in 2017.
Khokon, also a criminal law expert, urged the government to adopt sentencing guidelines to discourage awarding death sentence that became a fashion now.
He said, ‘inhuman death sentences cannot, and, therefore, did not’ help control law and order in this country.
He said that death sentence was unacceptable as it provides no opportunity for the first time offender’s correction ‘in our country as many other countries do.’
HC hearings in over 100 pending death references await distribution by the Acting Chief Justice.
SC officials said that due to inadequacy of benches in 2016, the High Court Division disposed of less than one third of 161 death references.
Only three benches deal with death reference matters, they said.
According to Supreme Court registrar general’s office, over 650 death references were forwarded to the High Court Division by trial courts for confirmation.
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