Counsel Abdullah Al Mamun on Thursday cited judgments of the Supreme Courts of Britain and Jamaica commuting death sentences to life in prison due to delay in appeal hearings.
"According to these verdicts, death row convicts suffer death pain in condemned cell and hence the authorities' duty is to execute the prisoners soon," Al Mamun said.
"But the condemned prisoners in the (Mujib murder) case have been suffering death pain for 11 years," he was quoted as telling the court by New Age newspaper.
Al Mamun represents killers of Rahman, popularly referred to as Bangabandhu or Sheikh Mujib, who was gunned down with most of his family members and many political associates in a military-led coup on August 15, 1975.
"The trial court had delivered the verdict in the case in 1998. But the appeals filed by four death row convicts against their convictions have not been disposed of in 13 years just because the judges felt embarrassed to hear the appeals," Al Mamun, the counsel for condemned prisoners Bazlul Huda and AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed, told the court.
A bench of the apex court this month resumed trial of the killers, including the appeals against the high court verdict, after a lapse of several years when judges hearing the case felt 'embarrassed' and withdrew.
The trial process was resumed after a new government, headed by Sheikh Mujib's daughter Sheikh Hasina, took office in January.
Al Mamun told the court that the prisoners were suffering due to prolonged hearing. "If any law fails to ensure rights of a citizen, the Constitution will be the lone resort."
Dhaka: Bangladesh's Supreme Court should commute the death sentences of four former Army officers convicted for killing the country's founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and allow life imprisonment as their appeals have been pending for several years, a defence counsel has pleaded.
First Published: Friday, October 30, 2009, 16:15