The Supreme Court will deliver its verdict any day on the appeal filed by Jamaat-e-Islami leader ATM Azharul Islam against the death penalty, handed to him by a war crimes tribunal.
A four-member bench of the Appellate Division, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, kept the appeal as CAV (Curia Advisari Vult -- meaning it will announce the verdict any day) after concluding hearing on it.
The apex court held hearing on the appeal for six days.
During the hearing, Azharul’s lawyer Advocate Khandaker Mahbub Hossain prayed to the SC to acquit his client of the charges, saying his client was innocent and was not involved in any crimes against humanity or war crimes.
Mahbub Hossain said the government has implicated his client after 43 years of the country’s independence out of political intention, which is unethical.
Neither any case nor a general diary had been filed against ATM Azharul before 2008 on the charges brought in the case, Mahbub said, adding that Azhar was 18 years old during the Liberation War of the country in 1971.
Documents and evidence produced against Azharul in connection with the case are not believable, the defence lawyer argued.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam prayed to the apex court to uphold the International Crimes Tribunal’s verdict that sentenced Azharul to death. He told the SC that there is no reason for interfering into the ICT’s verdict on the case against Azharul.
On December 30, 2014, ICT-1 sentenced Azharul, assistant secretary general of Jamaat, to death for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War. Azharul later filed an appeal with the SC challenging the verdict where he claimed innocence and prayed to the Appellate Division to acquit him of the charges.
Meanwhile yesterday, the SC started hearing on the appeal filed by Jatiya Party leader Syed Mohammad Qaisar challenging the death penalty awarded to him by a war crimes tribunal.
Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain and Advocate SM Shahjahan appeared for Qaisar.
The ICT-2 on December 23, 2014 awarded death penalty to Qaiser, former state minister during the HM Ershad-led regime, over similar charges. He filed the appeal with the SC challenging the ICT-2 verdict on him.