The Supreme Court of Bangladesh [official website] on Sunday struck down the nation's Seventh Amendment [constitution text] which legitimized the military rule of General HM Ershad. The court declared [Daily Star report] Ershad's martial law rules, regulations and orders to be illegal, void and unconstitutional, upholding a decision by the lower court. The court said, however, that international treaties formed during that period will still stand. Siddique Ahmed, who was convicted for murder by a martial law court in 1986, challenged the constitutionality of the Seventh Amendment and sought to have his conviction overturned. The Supreme Court cancelled Siddique's trial and conviction and ordered a retrial in a lower court. The court also granted Siddique bail to be released from jail. He was serving a sentence of life imprisonment.
Ershad came to power in 1982 after ousting the elected president Justice Abdus Sattar. He then suspended the constitution, dissolved parliament and declared himself the chief martial law administrator. The Seventh Amendment was passed in 1986 to amend the constitution to legitimize Ershad's usurpation.