All 3 cases adjourned until May 3
All the three cases in the ongoing trial of crimes against humanity were put off yesterday until May 3, as the accused were not present at the court due to the ongoing hartal.
Senior defence counsels of Jamaat-e-Islami ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami, BNP lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and former BNP lawmaker Abdul Alim also did not turn up at the court.
The trio are facing charges of crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War of 1971.
Of the accused, Alim, also a former minister, is on bail because he is old and in poor health. He was scheduled to appear before the International Crimes Tribunal-2 yesterday for a hearing into his fresh bail petition.
Muhammad Tarikul Islam, a counsel of Alim, told the tribunal that Alim and his senior lawyers could not come due to the dawn-to-dusk hartal. He appealed for extension of Alim's bail period and setting a new date for hearing the bail petition.
Prosecutor Rana Dasgupta opposed the prayer, saying that it was uncertain when the present political situation would be resolved.
Case proceedings would be delayed if the situation continues, he said adding that Alim should be taken into custody to avert such problems, and therefore the prayer should be rejected.
The three-member tribunal-2 led by its Chairman Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, however, decided to grant some time to the accused considering the “vulnerable situation” caused by the hartal enforced by the main opposition.
It also extended Alim's bail until May 3.
Arrested on March 27, Alim is now on conditional bail since March 31, 2011. He is facing 74 counts of crimes against humanity in 28 incidents from the Liberation War of 1971.
Meanwhile, the International Crimes Tribunal1 was supposed to hear the opening statements from the prosecution followed by witness testimonies against BNP lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.
Salauddin Quader, who faces 23 charges of crimes against humanity, could not be produced at the court due to the general strike yesterday.
Prosecutor Zead Al Malum, however, told the court that he was ready with the opening statement.
Malum said although he was ready to supply the list of witnesses to the defence, there was no one representing Salauddin Quader.
Tribunal-1 Chairman Justice Md Nizamul Huq then passed an order noting that the accused could not be produced due to the general strike of the opposition parties and adjourned the proceedings until May 3.
In its other agenda, tribunal-1 was supposed to hear the arguments from defence against the charges brought against the Jamaat chief.
Abdur Razzaq, chief of Jamaat leader's defence, was expected to conclude his arguments against Nizami's charges yesterday.
However, the counsel did not turn up and the accused could not be produced before the court because of the strike.
Noting the absence of the accused and his counsel, the tribunal chairman adjourned the proceedings until May 3.
The Jamaat chief is facing 15 charges of crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War.
A total of six Jamaat and two BNP leaders are facing war crimes charges at the two tribunals. Besides, Abul Kalam Azad, an expelled Jamaat member, is facing an arrest warrant for similar charges.