21 long years after, finally | The Daily Star
12:20 AM, July 16, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:14 AM, July 16, 2013

21 long years after, finally

21 long years after, finallyIt is not the first time that Ghulam Azam has been tried and convicted for crimes he committed during the Liberation War.
He was first tried 21 years ago, not in a lawful court but in a Gono Adalat (people's court) in the presence of several hundred thousand people. The country had never seen such a court or a trial before.
The Gono Adalat, a symbolic court to try Ghulam Azam and formed under the leadership of Jahanara Imam in 1992, found the former Jamaat kingpin guilty of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity and handed him death sentence.
Jahanara Imam, who symbolises the mother of all martyrs, gave rebirth to a movement demanding trial of war criminals.  Her movement turned into a countrywide mass movement.
The movement began in January 1992 after Ghulam Azam was appointed the Jamaat chief in December 1991. Ghulam was still then a Pakistani citizen and Jahanara Imam protested his appointment.
This protest later led to the formation of the Gono Adalat.
The Gono Adalat sat on March 26, 1992, at Suhrawardy Udyan, where the Pakistani forces surrendered to the liberation forces on December 16, 1971.
This court considered 10 crimes Ghulam Azam had committed, including crimes against humanity, war crimes through abetting Pakistani forces in killing about three million unarmed men, women, and children and violating more than two hundred thousand women.
Late Jahanara Imam was the chairman of this court that had 11 other members. They are late advocate Gaziul Haque, late intellectual Ahmed Sharif, late architect Mazharul Islam, late poet Fayez Ahmed, late national professor Kabir Chowdhury, late singer Kalim Sharafi, late Moulana Abdul Awal, late sector commander Lt Col (retd) Qazi Nuruzzaman, late Shawkat Ali Khan, sector commander Lt Col (retd) Abu Osman Chowdhury and current Law Minister Shafique Ahmed.
Noted poet Shamsul Haque, Prof Borhanuddin Khan Jahangir and Prof Anisuzzaman were the plaintiff of the case on behalf of the people.
The court in its verdict said in all democratic countries the crimes committed by Azam must be dealt with death sentence.
"As the Gono Adalat doesn't execute punishment, we are requesting the government of Bangladesh to take necessary action against him for his offence," it said.
The then BNP government took a hardline against the court and its organisers and filed a sedition case against 24 organisers, including Jahanara Imam.
The case was not withdrawn until before her death in 1995, when Justice Habibur Rahman-led caretaker government was in office.
Yesterday, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 found Ghulam Azam guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but did not give him the death sentence, considering his advanced age and health condition.

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