No mercy for Al-Badr commander ATM Azhar

DHAKA The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court

(SC) today showed no mercy to Jamaat leader and 1971 Al-Badr commander ATM

Azharul Islam as it upheld the death sentence handed over to him by

International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-1 for committing crimes against humanity.

A four-member apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud

Hossain passed the order at around 9.10 am, upholding tribunal's judgement on

majority for charge number two, three and four.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, who is expected to brief the media later

in the day, has expressed satisfaction over the judgement, while defence

counsel Khandaker Mahbub Hossain said they would file another plea, seeking

review of today's judgement.

The Appellate Division on October 30 set today to pronounce the

judgement.

Earlier on July 10, the apex court kept the judgement on CAV, curia

advisari vult (a Latin legal term meaning court awaits judgement), as the

hearing in the case concluded on that day.

The Appellate Division on June 18 started hearing the appeal filed by

the convict.

The first tribunal on December 30, 2014, sentenced Azhar to death for

his crimes against humanity in Rangpur during the War of Liberation. The

tribunal found him guilty in five of the total six charges it had framed

against him.

During the War of Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, Azhar collaborated

with Pakistani army to execute their plan and design in committing crimes

against humanity and genocide all over Rangpur district. As the commander of

Al-Badr Bahini, he resisted the War of Liberation and committed atrocities

all over the district through his members of Al-Badr Bahini, the ICT-1

verdict said.

He is held guilty of the offences of 'genocide' and 'crimes against

Humanity' enumerated in section 3(2)(a)(c)(i)(g) and (h) of the International

Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973 as listed in charge nos. 02, 03, and 04 and he

be convicted accordingly and sentenced to death for each of the said three

charges mentioned above and be hanged by the neck till he is dead, it added.

Azhars was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for charge number five and

was given five years imprisonment for charge number six.

The convicted war criminal filed the appeal against his conviction on

January 28, 2015.

Azhar, hailed from village Batason Lohanipara in Badorganj, Rangpur,

became president of Islami Chhatra Sangha, Jamaat's then student wing,

Rangpur district unit in 1971. As the broke out, he formed pro-Pakistani

death squad Al-Badr Bahini in the district.

As Bangladesh got liberated on December 16, 1971, he like many others of

his party went into hiding, only to be surfaced after the brutal killing of

Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.

Azhar joined Jamaat-e-Islami and managed to climb its ranks swiftly from

1982 to 1990. He was the president of Jamaat's Dhaka city unit from 1991-

2002. Azhar became the central assistant secretary general of Jamaat and

later was even in charge of general secretary of the extreme right wing

party.

He was arrested on August 23, 2012, as the first tribunal issued arrest

warrant against him. The prosecution submitted formal charge against him on

July 18, 2013. The first tribunal July 25, 2013, took the charges pressed

against Azhar into cognizance.

The ICT-1 on November 12, 2013, framed six charges of crimes against

humanity against ATM Azharul Islam. During the trial proceedings, the

prosecution produced 19 witnesses including the investigation officer, while

the defence produced one.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)