Deployment of police and RAB personnel had been increased since Saturday morning, and was propped up manyfold in the afternoon.
Until 4pm, only RAB personnel were deployed in front of the prison at Old Dhaka’s Najimuddin Road, but now armed police have been also stationed in the area.
No one, except members of the media, is being allowed to pass through the area around the prison entrance. Journalists have been told to wear their ID cards.
Usually, vehicles belonging to the press are allowed to park near the prison’s entrance, but on Saturday even that is being not allowed.
“There are two death-row convicts in the jail and that’s why the security measures,” Police’s Lalbagh Zone Senior Assistant Commissioner RM Faziur Rahman told bdnews24.com.
“Everyone has been asked to wear their ID cards so that no one can pass as a journalist and attempt any misdeed,” added the police official.
Additional security personnel have been deployed at the Dhaka Central Jail since Wednesday when the Supreme Court scrapped the war criminals’ petitions to review their death sentences.
Copies of the verdicts were published and sent to the jail on Thursday. The same day, the prison authorities read the verdicts out to the convicted war criminals.
There are no more hurdles for their execution except for a possible presidential clemency.
Law Minister Anisul Huq told bdnews24.com on Saturday that they two had filed mercy petitions.
But the families of Salauddin Quader and Mujahid have raised doubts over the information. They say they will only believe it if they hear it from the convicts or their lawyers.
Jamaat leaders Quader Molla and Kamaruzzaman were executed for 1971 war crimes at the Dhaka Central Jail; they had not sought clemency.
The rules dictate that prison authorities forward mercy petitions by death-row convicts to the home ministry, which then sends them to the law ministry. The petitions are submitted to the President by the law ministry.
“The President will take the decision upon consulting with the prime minister,” the law minister told bdnews24.com around 2:30pm.
Around 2:35pm, Deputy Jailor Sarbattam Dewan was seen coming out of Dhaka Central Jail with a file marked ‘important documents’.
He went to the home ministry and returned around 3:15pm.
The two magistrates who had entered the jail on Saturday morning were seen leaving the premises minutes after that, after which security was beefed up.
Meanwhile, the families of the war crimes convicts held separate press briefings on Saturday morning.
Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Mujahid’s family urged the government not to execute him until the Aug 21 grenade attack case had been resolved, which Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said he found ‘irrelevant’.
BNP leader Salauddin’s family told reporters they would write to the President arguing that his trial had not been fair.
On Saturday afternoon, the BNP leader’s family went to the Bangabhaban with a letter but was turned down by the President’s Office.
They were told to follow formal procedures for submitting a letter to the President.