After death sentence to Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, another BNP man Abdul Alim, a Cabinet member of slain President Gen Ziaur Rahman, was jailed unto death for crimes against humanity including genocide, murder and deportation during the 1971 Liberation War.
With the octogenarian accused Alim in the dock, Chairman of the three-member tribunal (ICT-2) Justice Obaidul Hassan pronounced the verdict in packed courtroom at 12.38 pm after finding him guilty of four counts of charges amid tight security.
The tribunal sentenced Alim to jail term unto death for the killing of 370 Hindus in Karai Kadipur, Chawkpara, Sonapara, Palpara and Munshipara of Joypurhat on April 26, killing of 10 Hindus of Uttar Hatsahar and Harunja Hat of Khetlal, Joypurhat towards the end of May, killing of 26 youths at Joypurhat College in late June and killing of three freedom fighters at Khanjanpur Khuthibari in October 1971.
Explaining its humanitarian stance taking a lenient view over sentencing Alim to capital punishment, the tribunal said the accused deserves death penalty for the horrendous crimes, including genocide, he had committed siding with the Pakistani junta in 1971 as the prosecution proved the four counts of charges beyond any reasonable doubt, but the fact remains that he is now running 83 and suffers from geriatric complications.
The tribunal also sentenced Alim to different jail terms -- 10 years for looting of Awami League leader Meher Uddin’s house in Panchbibi and single sentence to 20 years on four counts of charges for perpetrating war crimes. The charges are killing of nine people in Akkelpur, Joypurhat in May 1971, killing of four people of Nowda village of Panchbibi, Joypurhat on May 26, killing of 15 youths at West Amatra of Joypurhat on June 14 and killing of Awami League leader Abul Kashem of Devipur Kazipara on July 26 in 1971.
Among the sentences, the jail term unto death stands in force, said the tribunal.
The tribunal, however, acquitted Alim of eight counts of charges as the prosecution failed to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt.
Emerging from the tribunal, defence counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena told UNB that they would appeal before the Supreme Court against the ICT judgment.
The tribunal pronounced its judgment in phases for two hours.
Earlier, at 10.50 am, Justice M Shahinur Islam started reading out the first chapter of the 191-page summary verdict containing the historical background of the case and later Justice Mojibur Rahman Miah read out the second episode carrying the adjudication of the charges, and lastly tribunal chairman pronounced the sentences.
Abdul Alim faced 17 charges of crimes against humanity, including genocide, arson and loot, during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in collaboration with the Pakistani occupation forces. The charges fall under subsections 3(2) and 4(1) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.
Sixteen days ago, on September 22, the tribunal kept the verdict pending for any day after closing law-point arguments from both sides and sent accused Alim, who had been enjoying bail l since March 31, 2011, to jail canceling his bail. He was arrested on March 27, 2011 from his Joypurhat house on charges of 1971 crimes against humanity.
On June 11 last year, the tribunal indicted Alim for his alleged crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.
During the trial, 35 prosecution witnesses, including the IO, gave evidence against the accused while three appeared as defence witnesses.
Dr Turin Afroz and advocate Rana Dasgupta appeared for the prosecution.
Alim awarded jail unto death for war crimes