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Verdict on Azhar’s war crimes trial today

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Staff Reporter The International Crimes Tribunal-1 will pronounce its judgment today on the war crimes case filed against detained ATM Azharul Islam as 1971 commander of Al Badr, a vigilante unit of Jamaat-e-Islami. Keeping its judgment pending for 102 days after closing the trial, Justice M Enayetur Rahim, chairman of the three-member tribunal, passed the order on Monday, asking the jail authorities to produce the accused, now assistant secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami, before it on Tuesday by 10:30 am. While passing the order, the defence lawyers were not present. On November 12 last year, the tribunal framed charges against Azharul for his involvement in 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 Liberation War like killing, abduction, confinement, torture, loot, arson, rape and genocide in Rangpur district. A week after submitting the formal charge by the prosecution, the tribunal on July 25, 2013 took cognizance 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. According to the prosecution case, Azharul had been involved in the killing of more than 1,200 unarmed innocent civilians in Rangpur during the Liberation War in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army. It mentioned that Azharul Islam had played a key role in the killing of intellectuals, cultural personalities, physicians and lawyers in different areas of Rangpur during the 1971 war. On August 22, 2012, police arrested Azharul from his Moghbazar house in the capital in connection with the war crimes case, after the tribunal issued a warrant for his arrest upon a prosecution plea.