Death penalty for Jamaat leader Azhar
DHAKA, Dec 30, 2014 Nirapad News :The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-1 today sentenced death penalty to assistant secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami ATM Azharul Islam for his crimes against humanity in Rangpur during the War of Liberation.
The three-member tribunal headed by its Chairman Justice M Enayetur Rahim, passed the verdict in presence of the accused around 1 this afternoon. It found him guilty of five among the six charges against him unleashed from March 24 to December 16, 1971. He has been awarded death for Charge no-2, 3 and 4, sentenced 25 years for Charge no-5 and 5 years for Charge no-6. The tribunal acquitted Azhar of charge no-1 as it was not proved.
The court said he should be hanged for Charge no -2, 3 and 4. In the charge No-2 he was accused of gunning down 15 unarmed innocent civilians at Dhap Para area in Rangpur on April 16. In Charge no- 3, he was accused of massacre at Jharuarbeel and killing of more than 1200 unarmed civilians on April 17. And in Charge number-3 he was accused of abduction and murder of four teachers of Carmichael College and others on April 30.
Besides, he was sentenced a total of 30 years of imprisonment in the remaining charge no-5 and 6 for raping women after confining them at Rangpur Town Hall between March 25 and December 16 and torture of Shawkat Hossain and Rafiqul Hasan between mid November and December 1.
The tribunal however acquitted Azhar from charge number-1 in which he was accused of abduction, confinement, torture of 11 persons including noted income tax lawyer AY Mahfuz Ali between March 24 and 27 and later killed 10 of them in brushfire at Dhakhiganj Shashan in Rangpur town on April 3, 1971.
Justice Anwarul Haque began delivering the 158-page verdict against the accused with reading out the introductory part around 11.18am while his colleague Justice Jahangir Hossain read out the keynotes and finished around 12.38 this afternoon.
Hailing the tribunal verdict Prosecutor Zead Al Malum told the waiting reporters, “Five charges out of six against Azhar have been proved beyond any reasonable doubt. He was sentenced for death in Charge no-2, 3 and 4. He was sentenced 25 years in imprisonment for Charge no-5 and five years in Charge number 6 while the court acquitted him from charge no-1”
Earlier at 9.15 in the morning Azhar was brought to the tribunal from Dhaka Central Jail. Stringent security measures were taken in and around the tribunal to avert any untoward incident centering the verdict.
The tribunal kept the verdict for waiting on September 18 after hearing arguments of both the prosecution and defence.
Azharul was arrested from his Moghbazar residence in the capital on August 22, 2012 upon an arrest warrant issued against him by the tribunal for his alleged involvement in wartime criminal offences.
During the War of Liberation, Azhar, son of late Nazir Hossain and Ramicha Khatun of Batasan Lohanipara in Badarganj upazila, was an intermediate student of Rangpur Carmichael College. He was also the commander of Rangpur unit of Al-Badr, a heinous auxiliary force to the Pakistani occupation forces.
Earlier on November 12 last year, the tribunal indicted Azharul and heard the first prosecution on December 26 the same year.
A total of 19 prosecution witnesses including investigation officer M Idris Ali of the case gave their testimonies while one Anwarul Haque, a distant relative of Azhar, gave testimony in favour of the accused. It is the 15th verdict delivered by the two tribunals. Two more cases have been kept waiting for verdict at the tribunal. ICT-1 formed on March 25 in 2010, handed down capital punishment to former Jamaat rukon Abul Kalam Azad in absentia in its first verdict on January 21 in 2013. The second tribunal was formed on March 22 in 2012 to expedite the trial process.
CHARGES against Azhar:
1. Abduction, confinement, torture of 11 persons including noted income tax lawyer AY Mahfuz Ali between March 24 and 27. Ten of them were later killed in brushfire at Dhakhiganj Shashan in Rangpur town on April 3, 1971.
2. Gunning down of 15 unarmed innocent persons, looting and torching of houses at Dhap Para area under Badarganj Police Station in Rangpurand adjacent areas on April 16.
3. Massacre at Jharuarbeel and killing of more than 1200 unarmed civilians on April 17.
4. Abduction and murder of four teachers of Carmichael College and others on April 30.
5. Rape of women after confining them at Rangpur Town Hall between March 25 and December 16.
6. Torture of Shawkat Hossain and Rafiqul Hasan between mid November and December 1.