Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain has recently assigned a High Court bench to hear and dispose of the death reference and appeals in the sensational 10-truck arms haul case.
In the case, 14 people including ex-ministers Motiur Rahman Nizami and Lutfozzaman Babar were sentenced to death.
The bench of Justice Bhabani Prasad Singha and Justice Mustafa Zaman Islam may fix a date on Sunday for commencement of the hearing for the death reference and appeals, said court sources.
If a lower court sentences a person to death in a case, its judgment is examined by the HC through hearing arguments for confirmation of the death sentence. The case documents and judgment reach to the HC from the lower court as death reference in seven days after the latter delivers the verdict.
Twelve death-row convicts out of a total 14 in the 10-truck arms haul case have filed separate appeals with the HC, challenging the trial court verdict on them.
In the appeals, they prayed to the HC to acquit them of the charges, claiming themselves innocent, according to the sources.
On January 30, 2014, the Chittagong Metropolitan Special Tribunal-1 handed down death penalties to 14 people, including former minister and former Jamaat-e-Islami Amir Motiur Rahman Nizami as well as former BNP state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar, for smuggling 10 truckloads of firearms in 2004.
The same 14 convicts were also given life term imprisonment in another case filed for possessing illegal firearms.
Motiur Rahman Nizami was executed on May 11 in 2016 after the Supreme Court upheld his death penalty for committing crimes against humanity and war crimes during the country's Liberation War in 1971.
Meanwhile, another HC bench of Justice Jahangir Hossain Selim and Justice Md Jahangir Hossain is set on Sunday to start hearing the death reference and appeals in another sensational case filed for assassination attempt on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by planting a bomb weighing 76kg in Gopalganj's Kotalipara in July 2000.
A Dhaka court on August 20 last year sentenced 10 leaders and activists of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (Huji) to death, one to life imprisonment and three to 14 years' imprisonment in the case.
Seven of the convicts have filed separate appeals with the HC challenging the trial court verdict on them, court sources said.