A designated prosecutor on Tuesday pleaded before the International Crimes Tribunal-1 for framing charge against ATM Azharul Islam, a 1971 commander of Rangpur district Al Badr, a vigilante group of Jamaat-e- Islami, in the case of crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.
Prosecutor AKM Saiful Islam made the plea while closing his arguments on charge framing matter.
Prosecutor Saiful termed appropriate the charges made against detained accused Azharul, now assistant secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami, as all the elements of crimes against humanity, including genocide, committed during the Liberation War were unearthed by the investigation agency.
He said the accused had perpetrated almost identical crimes like abduction, confinement, torture, murder, arson, rape and genocide in order to implement the scorched earth policy adopted by the Pakistan junta.
As the prosecution’s charge hearing arguments was over, defence counsel Tajul Islam prayed adjournment for homework in this regard.
Initially, the three-member tribunal, headed by Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, turned a deaf ear to the defence time plea saying that enough time had been allocated for preparation.
Reiterating the defence plea, Tajul told the tribunal that the accused would be heavily prejudiced if the time plea was not allowed. Besides, there is no reason for the prosecution becoming prejudiced if time is allowed, he argued.
Meanwhile, the prosecutor did not oppose the defence time plea.
Showing a lenient view, the tribunal finally allowed the defence plea and adjourned for September 8 the defence discharge petition hearing.
On July 25, the tribunal took cognisance of the charge made against Azharul Islam in the case of crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War, under subsections 3(2) and 4(1) (2) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 as it found a strong prima facie case.
The Jamaat leader faces six charges including murder, genocide, abduction, arson, torture and rape in Rangpur district and its suburbs.
On July 18, the prosecution submitted formal charge before the tribunal accusing Azharul Islam of committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.
According to the prosecution case, Azharul, the then Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS) president of Rangpur district unit, had been involved in the killing of more than 1,200 innocent unarmed people in Rangpur during the Liberation War in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army and its auxiliary forces.
It mentioned that Azharul had played a key role in the killing of intellectuals, cultural personalities, physicians and lawyers in different areas of Rangpur during the war.