Monday 28 September 2020.Time-
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Ghulam Azam sentenced to 90 years in prison

Golam-AzamDhaka, 15 July, Abnews : The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-1 today handed down 90 years of imprisonment to Ghulam Azam for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War. The former chief of the then East Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami, Azam, was found guilty of five charges of crimes against humanity that were framed against him based on 61 counts. Justice A.T.M Fazle Kabir, chairman of the three-member panel of ICT-1, pronounced the verdict in the crowded courtroom. Though his crimes are punishable by maximum sentence, which should be death sentence. But he is now 91-year-old and under regular medical attention. So, taking his age and health condition under consideration, he is being handed down this imprisonment, said Justice Kabir.

The former Jamaat chief was handed down 10 years imprisonment for the charge of conspiracy in committing crimes against humanity, 10 years for planning, 20 years for incitement, 20 years for complicity and 30 years for the charge of murder of Siru Miah, his son Anwar Kamal, and 36 others. Justice Anwarul Haque, member of the three-member panel of ICT-1, started reading out the 75 pages summing up the verdict at around 11.05 am followed by Justice Jahangir Hossain. Justice Kabir started reading out the sentencing portion at around 1.10 pm and finished at 1.45 pm.

Ghulam Azam was taken to the tribunal lockup from the prison cell of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University at around 10 am. Sitting on a wheelchair, he was brought to the tribunal dock by some policemen at 10:45 am. The tribunal started its proceedings at 10:46 am as its chairman, Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, started giving a pre-verdict speech.

Pointing out to the fact that is has taken almost three months that the tribunal has kept the date of verdict pending, the ICT-1 chairman said, Almost all the documents submitted by the prosecution against the accused were newspaper clippings. It would have been better if there had been any reference books. We took time for going through relevant books for making the verdict rich.

Yesterday, the tribunal fixed today for pronouncing the verdict, whereas the first tribunal on April 17 kept the date on pending after the almost eleven-month-long trial hearing concluded on that day. Record is taken up today for fixing the date for passing judgement in the trial of Ghulam Azam. By this time, judgement has been prepared. Let the case be fixed for tomorrow for passing the order, said Justice A.T.M Fazle Kabir yesterday.

The tribunal at the same time turned down a plea by the chief defence counsel, Barrister Abdur Razzaq, to consider Azam’s age and not to deliver the verdict in his presence. It is the right of every accused to hear the verdict that is being passed against him. If he have any physical condition, the jail authority will look into the matter, we cannot do anything about this, Justice Kabir said.

A total of sixteen prosecution witnesses including historian and war crimes researcher Prof Muntassir Mamun, human rights activist Sultana Kamal, noted musician Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul, valiant freedom fighter Mahbub Uddin Ahmed, and eminent war crimes researcher Shahriar Kabir testified against Ghulam Azam.

But Azam’s son former Brigadier General Abdullahil Aman Azmi was the sole defence witness to vouch for him before the tribunal. The tribunal indicted Azam on May 13 on five charges based on 61 counts of crimes against humanity including murders on a mass scale, tortures, plots against independence and incitement for genocides.

The bulk of Azam’s allegations consist of incitement and complicity with 28 and 23 counts respectively. Azam is also accused of six counts of conspiracy and three counts of planning and one count of murder. He was found responsible for the murder of Freedom Fighter Siru Miah, his son Anwar Kamal, and 36 others in Brahmanbaria Jail. Azam, now 91, was the chief of the East Pakistan wing of Jamaat- e-Islami during the Liberation War.


Abn/Mon-01/Law & Crime/Desk/Jasim/MR/Mustafiz/Fatama

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