Ghulam Azam was on Peace Committee | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 12, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:56 PM, March 19, 2013

Ghulam Azam was on Peace Committee

Says his counsel

The defence of Ghulam Azam yesterday said there was no way to deny that he was a member of the Peace Committee during the Liberation War but it was not a crime.
“But it is not a crime in this act [International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973]. It was crime under the Collaborators Act, 1972, [repealed]”, said defence counsel Mizanul Islam.
He said this in reply to a question from Justice Anwarul Haque of the three-member tribunal.
The defence was placing its closing arguments in the crimes against humanity case at the International Crimes Tribunal-1.
On May 13, 2012, Ghulam Azam also said he was on the list of collaborators of the Pakistani army but denied he was a war criminal.
Justice Anwarul Haque yesterday asked the defence counsel that according to the abstract of East Pakistan Police, submitted by the prosecution, Ghulam Azam made speeches at different times in peace committee (a collaborator force) meetings.
Mizanul argued that whether the abstract of East Pakistan Police would be considered official after March 26, 1971, was debateable. “I will place detailed arguments over the matter later,” he added.
In January, 1972, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's government passed the Collaborators Act, 1972, to try the collaborators and war criminals.
"Those who were punished for or accused of rape, murder, attempt to murder or arson will not come under general amnesty under section-1," reads section-2 of the act.
According to historical records, out of 37,000 sent to jail on charges of collaboration, about 26,000 were freed following announcement of the general amnesty.
Around 11,000 were behind bars when the government of Justice Sayem and late president Ziaur Rahman repealed the act on December 31, 1975.
An appeal spree and release of war criminals en masse followed the scrapping of the law.
During this period, Ghulam Azam was outside the country.
The defence yesterday placed their arguments on the investigation officer and first prosecution witness's testimony.
The proceeding of the case was adjourned until today.

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