Mojaheed to hang
A special court in Dhaka has awarded death penalty to Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed for offences during Bangladesh's war of independence 42 years back.
Five out of seven charges have been proved beyond doubt, Justice Obaidul Hassan, head judge of International Crimes Tribunal-2, announced in a jam-packed courtroom Wednesday afternoon.
The Jamaat linchpin, who led the infamous Al-Badr force in killing intellectuals of the land at the fag end of the 1971 Liberation War, received death penalty for three charges, and life sentence and five-year imprisonment for two others.
Standing in the dock wearing a Panjabi, the 65-year-old shook his head in disapproval of the judgement.
This is the sixth verdict in the sensational war crimes trial that was initiated 40 years into the country's birth, which the Jamaat was strongly against and instrumental to negate.
His party has enforced a countrywide daylong hartal (shutdown) to protest the verdict.
Mojaheed’s verdict came couple of days after another war crimes tribunal, ICT-1, awarded former Jamaat chief Ghulam Azam 90 years jail.
Tight security was arranged in and around the ICT-2 building as the court prepared to deliver judgement on Mojaheed Wednesday.
A contingent of securitymen guarded the Jamaat top leader as he was taken to the prison cell of the court at 9:42am in a white microbus.
He was taken to the tribunal dock just one hour later.
The court started its proceedings at 10:48am.
After a brief description of the case, Justice Md Shahinur Islam, a judge on the three-member panel, started reading out from the 209-page verdict.
A 37-page excerpt was read out.
Mojaheed, a former technocrat minister of the last BNP-led alliance government, was arrested on June 29, 2010, in connection with hurting religious sentiments of Muslims.
The investigation agency, designated to probe war crimes, started investigation his alleged crimes during the war on July 21, 2010, and completed its probe in October, 2011.
Mojaheed was shown arrested in the war crimes case on August 2, 2010.
On January 16, 2012, the prosecution submitted 34 charges against him and the tribunal took the charges into cognisance on January 26.
The case was transferred to Tribunal-2 on April 25, 2012.
On June 21, 2012, Mojaheed, who was a top leader of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the student wing of Jamaat in 1971, was indicted on seven charges.
As per the indictment order, Mojaheed in October 1971 was elected provincial president of Chhatra Sangha and became the chief of Al-Badr, an auxiliary force of the Pakistan army that was especially responsible for the planned killings of the intellectuals at the fag-end of the nine-month-long war.
Al-Badr was an “action section” and “armed wing” of Jamaat and was formed mainly with the members of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the Tribunal-2 observed during the proceeding of another war crime suspect Jamaat leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman’s verdict.
As many as 17 prosecution witnesses including the investigation officer of the case testified against Mojaheed, while his younger son gave testimony as the lone defence witness.
The prosecution and the defence placed closing arguments between May 7 and June 5.
Earlier on June 5, the tribunal kept the Mojaheed case CAV (Curia Advisari Vult, a Latin legal term meaning verdict would be delivered anytime).
WAR TRIAL PROGRESS REPORT
The two tribunals dealing with the war crimes cases have so far delivered verdicts in five cases.
The Tribunal-1 on July 15 awarded 90-year jail to former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Ghulam Azam for his war time offences.
The Tribunal-2 awarded expelled Jamaat leader Abul Kalam Azad and Jamaat Assistant Secretary General Muhammad Kamaruzzaman death sentence and another Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Mollah life sentence, while the Tribunal-1 awarded Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee capital punishment.