South Asia

Another Jamaat leader gets death sentence

A commander of Al-Badr killing squad, A.T.M. Azharul Islam, was awarded death penalty on charges of genocide, mass killing and crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War in 1971.

Azhar, now the assistant-secretary-general of Jamaat-e-Islami, was also sentenced to 25 and five years imprisonment on two other charges for rape and abduction.

The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-1 found the Jamaat-e-Islami leader guilty of five out of six charges on Tuesday. Azhar was the chief of Jamaat student front ‘Islami Chhatra Sangha’ and led the dreaded Al-Badr killing squad, formed by the Pakistan Army to suppress Bangladesh’s independence, in northern Rangpur region .

The verdict has been hailed by the people of Rangpur, who took out processions and distributed sweets. The prosecution was satisfied with the verdict and said that the punishment served the expectation of the victims’ families and the countrymen. The defence said Azhar was not awarded a fair verdict and will file an appeal.

Azhar is the eighth senior Jamaat leader to be convicted of war crimes.

The tribunal awarded capital punishment to Azhar for Mokshedpur massacre on April 16, killing of around 1,400 unarmed civilians at Jharuarbeel in Rangpur on April 17 and abduction and murder of four Hindu teachers of Carmichael College and others on April 30 in 1971.

He was sentenced to 25 years’ rigorous imprisonment for raping women at Rangour Town Hall between March 25 and December 16 and five years for torturing two persons from November to December 1.

The head of the three-member tribunal, M. Enayetur Rahim, while delivering the verdict, referred to a section of foreign media which depicted Azhar as a ‘religious figure’. “His [Azhar’s] stature as an Islamic or religious figure is not our concern. We are trying him as a suspected war criminal,” the judge remarked.

Call for shutdown

The Jamaat-e-Islami has called a two-day countryside shutdown for Wednesday and Thursday to protest against the death verdict. Jamaat had responded violently to its leaders’ convictions in the past.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 1:49:22 AM |

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