Mir Quasem's verdict today
The International Crimes Tribunal-2 is set to deliver its verdict today in the case against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.
Quasem, the alleged chief of Chittagong Al-Badr Bahini, an auxiliary force of Pakistani army, was shifted to Dhaka Central Jail from Kashimpur jail in Gazipur on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Jamaat will enforce the second bout of its countrywide 72-hour hartal today, protesting the capital punishment of its Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami for committing crimes against humanity.
The shutdown will start at 6:00am today and end at 6:00am on Tuesday. The party on Thursday enforced a countrywide 24-hour strike.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, Arunav Chakraborty, deputy registrar of the tribunal, said necessary measures including security arrangements have been taken ahead of the verdict.
Asked whether it would be possible to deliver the verdict today after a massive power outage in the country a day before, he said there are all-time generator facilities for the tribunals.
Farman Ali, senior jail superintendent at Dhaka Central Jail, last night said Quasem was in sound health.
Considered one of the top financiers of Jamaat, Quasem faces 14 charges, including murder in Chittagong city between November and December 16, 1971.
The ICT-2 on Thursday fixed Sunday for delivering the judgment, around six months after the completion of his trial. On May 4, the court concluded hearing the closing arguments in Quasem's case and kept it awaiting verdict.
The prosecution sought capital punishment for 62-year-old Quasem, a member of Jamaat's central executive council, claiming that they had been able to prove 12 out of 14 charges. The defence, however, sought his acquittal saying the prosecution couldn't prove any of the charges.
According to the prosecution, Quasem, president of Jamaat's then student wing Islami Chhatra Sangha's (ICS) Chittagong town unit, colluded with the Pakistan army, Jamaat, and other anti-liberation forces and formed Al-Badr force in the port city in 1971.
Several Al-Badr camps were set up in Chittagong under Quasem's leadership for torturing and killing pro-liberation people. The accused also had links with the Pak army and was directly involved in crimes like abduction, torture and murder in 1971, the prosecution said.
The prosecution produced 24 witnesses, mostly victims, and documents before the tribunal to prove the charges. It, however, could not produce any witness in support of two charges.
Quasem's counsels said their client was indeed involved with the ICS in 1971, but had nothing to do with the Al-Badr or any torture camp. The defence produced three witnesses to prove their claim.