Charges against Alim accepted | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 28, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 28, 2012

War Crimes of '71

Charges against Alim accepted

The International Crimes Tribunal-1 yesterday took into cognisance the war crimes charges brought against former BNP lawmaker Abdul Alim.
The tribunal--the first of two set up to deal with war crimes committed during the 1971 Liberation War--ordered the prosecution to place formal charges against Alim on April 24.
It also extended bail to the BNP leader until that day.
Abdul Alim, aged over 80, was present at the court during yesterday's proceedings.
Arrested on March 27 last year in Joypurhat, the BNP leader is now facing 74 counts of crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the Liberation War of 1971.
Yesterday, after the three-judge tribunal took the charges into cognisance, Munshi Ahsan Kabir, a defence counsel of Alim, appealed for his client's bail to be extended as he had not violated any of the conditions of the bail.
Abdul Alim was granted bail in April last year on condition that he would not contact any political leaders or witnesses of war crimes, not make any statement to the media and would offer full cooperation to the investigation agency probing war crimes.
The defence counsel also told the court that Alim's physical condition had deteriorated during this time and therefore the bail should be extended.
Prosecutor Rana Dasgupta opposed the prayer, saying that he should be taken into custody, as the case was ready to go to trial and all the other accused facing charges at the tribunal were in custody.
He said the prison authorities could arrange Alim's treatment even if his condition deteriorated.
The tribunal headed by Justice Md Nizamul Huq then observed that Alim had not misused the privileges that came with the bail. “We are of the view that this crippled old man should not be sent into custody,” said Justice Huq in his order. “At this stage, we are inclined to let him continue being on bail.”
The tribunal then directed the defence counsels of the BNP leader to submit an updated medical report on Alim's medical condition on April 24.
It also directed the prosecution to submit the case related documents to the tribunal registrar by April 1 and the defence counsels to collect them on April 2.
Ghulam Azam's chief counsel Abdur Razzaq yesterday finished presenting a discharge petition for the former Jamaat-e-Islami chief, widely believed to have been the key figure behind the atrocities committed during the Liberation War.
The petition was placed in response to the prosecution's arguments supporting formal charges against the 89-year-old Jamaat leader.
Prosecutor Zead Al Malum will be responding to Razzaq's arguments tomorrow.
Yesterday, Razzaq argued that certain charges brought against Ghulam Azam did not have the necessary evidence required by the tribunal and those charges should be dropped.
The defence counsel said Razakar, Al Badr, Al Shams, among other fronts, were organised by the Jamaat and its student front Islami Chhatra Sangha. Therefore, these groups should not be considered as auxiliary forces as a force must be under the direct control of the Pakistani army to be regarded as an auxiliary force, he said.
Razzaq also argued that the charges against Ghulam Azam were vague and did not show any direct link between atrocities and his statements.
The hearing was adjourned until March 29.
Ghulam Azam was brought to court yesterday.
The tribunal yesterday deferred until April 4 giving its decision on indictment of BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury in connection with crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the Liberation War.
Tribunal chairman Justice Nizamul Huq told the BNP lawmaker's defence counsels that the newly appointed member of the tribunal, Justice Anwarul Haque, would also have to agree with the order.
He said the tribunal would pass the order after the new judge had familiarised himself with the case proceedings.
The lawmaker from Chittagong is facing 77 charges of crimes against humanity. He was produced before the court for yesterday's proceedings.
The defence argument on the charge framing against Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami was yesterday deferred until April 1.
The defence counsels of Nizami asked for time as one of the defence lawyers was abroad.
At the tribunal, Nizami is facing charges of crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War.

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