12:00 AM, March 18, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Six war crimes convicts' appeals pending at SC

Six war crimes convicts' appeals pending at SC

Likely to take quite some time to be cleared
Ashutosh Sarkar

Six convicted war criminals' appeals are now pending with the Supreme Court, and the proceedings of one of them are expected to be finished in April.
Two international crimes tribunals have convicted and sentenced them after finding them guilty of atrocities and crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971.
MK Rahman, additional attorney general and chief coordinator of the prosecution, said the SC would hear the appeals of the six one after another. So, it is likely that the appeals will take quite a  while to be disposed of.
Of the six, three Jamaat-e-Islami leaders--Delawar Hossain Sayedee, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, and Muhammad Kamaruzzaman--and a BNP leader, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, were sentenced to death, while former Jamaat chief Ghulam Azam got 90-year imprisonment and ex-BNP leader Abdul Alim a life-term in jail.
The Appellate Division of the SC is now dealing with the appeal of Sayedee, and its proceedings may end in the third week of April, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told The Daily Star recently.
The apex court has already heard arguments on Sayedee's appeal for more than 40 days. The hearing will resume on April 1, the opening day after its ongoing two-week annual vacation.
The attorney general said he would place arguments on Sayedee's appeal for three to four more days, and then the defence would place arguments.
SM Shahjahan, a defence lawyer for Sayedee, said he would give legal reply to the attorney general's arguments before the SC, and it might take four to five days. Earlier, Shahjahan placed arguments for 35 days to defend Sayedee at the court.   
The convicted Jamaat leader filed the appeal challenging his death sentence given by International Crimes Tribunal-2.
The apex court had earlier taken 39 days to hear the appeals in the war crimes case against another Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah. He was executed on December 12 last year.
Additional Attorney General MK Rahman said the SC could not continue hearing Sayedee's appeal due to hartals and blockades in November and December last year.
The defence lawyers did not attend the court on those days, he said, adding that the defence lawyers were trying to delay the proceedings in the war crimes cases.
So far, 10 people accused of war crimes have been convicted, including the six whose appeals are pending, since January 2013. Apart from them, six more are standing trial at the two crimes tribunals. Most of the accused are leaders of Jamaat and BNP.
Fugitive war criminals Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan were given death penalty by a tribunal on November 3 last year.
Al-Badr operation-in-charge Mueen is now in London, where he has made his name as a community leader. He served as the chairman of Tottenham Mosque and as the director of Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the National Health Service of the UK.
Ashraf, chief executor of Al-Badr, is now in New York and has been involved with the conservative Islami Circle of North America, according to the prosecution.
Abul Kalam Azad, another convicted war criminal popularly known as Bachchu Razakar, is also on the run. He was the first of the accused to be convicted by a tribunal. He was sentenced to death in absentia on January 21 last year.


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