12:00 AM, January 30, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 30, 2013

War Crimes Trial

Sayedee verdict anytime soon

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Staff Correspondent

The International Crimes Tribunal-1 may any day deliver judgment in the war crimes case against Jamaat-e-Islami Nayeb-e-Ameer Delawar Hossain Sayedee, as rehearing of arguments concluded yesterday.
On December 6, 2012, the court had kept the case for delivering verdict but later it decided to hear once again the arguments from the prosecution and the defence following reconstitution of the tribunal in mid December.
Yesterday, soon after the completion of both sides' arguments, accused Sayedee began reading out loud a 10-page speech before the tribunal. During the time he cursed the prosecution, the witnesses against him and the investigation officers.
However, he read out the highlights of his speech ignoring the court's repeated objection. During the time, he swore upon Allah and claimed that the charges brought against him were fabricated.
He termed the hacked Skype conversation between former Tribunal-1 chairman Justice Md Nizamul Huq and an expatriate legal expert as an intervention of Allah.
Sayedee, who also claimed himself as a preacher of Islam, said, "I pray to Allah to give the prosecution, investigation officer and the witnesses against me hedayet [to bring someone on the right path]. And if they do not deserve it, burn them and their families in the fire of turmoil physically and mentally, the way my family, I and my followers across the globe have suffered. Be hell their eternal resting place."
The prosecution objected the remark instantly, terming it "hypocrisy". The defence also reacted to the prosecution's objection and chaos brewed up in the tribunal. Prosecutor Syed Haidar Ali later pacified the heat.
Chairman of the three-member tribunal Justice ATM Fazle Kabir then said the case was kept CAV (Curia Advisari Vult, a Latin legal term), which according to lawyers means that the verdict could be delivered any time.
He said the prosecution and the defence would be informed prior to the deliverance of the verdict.
This was the second time the tribunal kept Sayedee's case ready for verdict.
Meanwhile, during the rehearing, prosecutor Haidar Ali said the prosecution had followed the procedures as per the act. If the tribunal during judgment took under consideration the statements of the absentee witnesses given to the investigation officer, it does not clash with the law.
The victims and their families had been waiting anxiously for the verdict, he said, adding that the prosecution had been successful in proving Sayedee guilty of all charges.
Sayedee is facing 19 charges of crimes against humanity, including looting, killing, arson, rape and religious conversion, which were allegedly committed by him during the Liberation War in 1971.
Haidar Ali then sought capital punishment for Sayedee.
A total of 44 persons including the investigation officer, witnesses and absentee witnesses gave deposition against Sayedee while 17 persons were produced as defence witnesses.
Following a Dhaka court order, Sayedee was arrested along with Jamaat leaders Motiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed on June 30, 2010, in connection with hurting the sentiment of Muslims.
Nizami and Mojaheed are now also facing crimes against humanity charges at the war crimes tribunals.
Chief prosecutor Ghulam Arieff Tipoo of the international crimes tribunals placed the charges against Sayedee before the tribunal through its registrar on July 11, 2011.
The tribunal framed 20 specific charges against Sayedee on October 3, 2011.
The trial finally began on November 20, 2011, with the prosecution's opening statement.
The tribunal-1 yesterday rejected three petitions of the war crimes accused BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.
The petitions were: initiating contempt of court proceeding against a reporter and the editor of Bangla daily Jugantor, review of order on an adjournment petition and review of an earlier order on taking testimony closed-door.
The Tribunal rejected the contempt petition saying it did not find any material for initiating contempt proceeding after perusing the report that was published on January 18.
The rest two review petitions were rejected as the defence had failed to maintain the time bar.
The tribunal, however, heard submissions of the defence and prosecution on another petition, in which the defence sought necessary steps so that SQ Chowdhury could take part in the ongoing parliament sessions.
The tribunal fixed today for the order on the matter.
Earlier in the morning, the Tribunal-1 asked to submit investigation report or formal charge against war crimes suspect Jamaat-e-Islami central leader Mir Kashem Ali on March 3.
Kashem was produced before the tribunal yesterday.

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