Dhaka, Political Reporter (Md. Kamruzzaman):
Jamaat-e-Islami on Tuesday called a countrywide hartal for Wednesday and Thursday, protesting the death sentence of its acting secretary general ATM Azharul Islam for war crimes.
The hartal will be enforced from 6am to 5:30pm on Wednesday and Thursday.
In a statement, Jamaat-e-Islami acting ameer Makbul Ahmed said the government is plotting to kill Jamaat leaders and the death sentence of Azharul comes in line with the blueprint.
The acting ameer of Jammat alleged that the government brought ‘false, baseless and imaginary allegations’ against him to frame the charges and used the ruling party leaders to give false statements during the trial.
The death sentence of Azharul has deprived him of justice, he added.
The International Crimes Tribunal-1 on Tuesday condemned Jamaat-e-Islami leader ATM Azharul Islam to death for the crimes against humanity, including rape and genocide, he committed during the 1971 Liberation War.
ICT-1 handed down death penalty against Jamaat leader ATM Azharul Islam, a 19 year-old youth and HSC student in 1971, on the basis of six charges brought against him.
The defense counsel Advocate Shishir Mohammad Manir said: “justice is denied, we are disappointed with the verdict. “ATM Azharul Islam cannot even be fined with this quality of witnesses; death penalty is a far away off.”
Shishir Manir said they will certainly appeal to the Supreme Court challenging the death penalty handed down to Jamaat leader ATM Azharul Islam and expect Azharul Islam will get justice there.
Tajul Islam, one of the top lawyers of Azhar said: “The evidences that have been presented here in tribunal are so lame. From the legal point of view punishment cannot be amounted on these.”
“ATM Azhar has directed us to go for appeal in the Supreme Court. He is confident that he did not commit these crimes.”
“We will go against this verdict and appeal to the Supreme Court. We hope that the apex court will find reason for our argument,” he added.
Justice M Enayetur Rahim, chairman of the three-member tribunal, pronounced the verdict, after its 158-page summary was read out, at 12:44 pm in a crowded courtroom, amid tight security.
Earlier, around 10:30 am, ATM Azharul Islam had been taken in a prison van to the ICT-1 for delivery of the judgment.
On Monday, the three-member tribunal fixed Tuesday for pronouncement of the verdict.
When the order was passed, the defence lawyers were not present.
On November 12 last year, the tribunal framed charges against Azharul for his involvement in the crimes against humanity, including genocide, during the Liberation War in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army.
The accused Jamaat-e-Islami leader faced six counts of charges of crimes against humanity during the 1971 war like killing, abduction, confinement, torture, loot, arson, rape and genocide in Rangpur district.
A week after submitting the formal charges by the prosecution, the tribunal on July 25, 2013 took cognisance of the charge against Azharul as it found a strong prima facie case against the accused under subsections 3(2) and 4(1) (2) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.
Source: BD Chronicle