Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013

Azharul’s war crimes charges accepted

This August 22 file photo shows Jamaat leader Azharul Islam waves to onlookers as he is put into a prison van after his arrest at his Moghbazar home in the capital in connection with crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War.

This August 22 file photo shows Jamaat leader Azharul Islam waves to onlookers as he is put into a prison van after his arrest at his Moghbazar home in the capital in connection with crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War.

A tribunal in Dhaka accepted charges of war crimes against Jamaat-e-Islami Acting Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam on Thursday.

The charge framing hearing will begin on August 18, Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, chairman of the three-member panel of International Crimes Tribunal-1, announced after taking the charges into cognisance.

Now 61, Azharul was a wartime student of Rangpur Carmichael College and president of Rangpur district unit Islami Chhatra Sangha.

He was involved in the massacre in Rangpur where some 1,225 people were killed in 1971, according to the probe report.

Besides, he was involved in killing four people, abducting 17, raping one, confining 13, torturing 13 people and looting and torching numerous houses in the district.

The tribunal on July 18 fixed Thursday to decide on charge sheet acceptance after the prosecution pressed six charges against Azharul, which include mass murder, rape, torture, looting in 1971.

“Upon perusal (examination) of the document it appears that there is strong prima facie (sufficient to establish a fact or raise a presumption unless disproved) case against Azharul,” the chairman said while accepting the charges.

“We are inclined to take cognisance of offence under International Crimes (Tribunals) Act-1973,” he added.

Police arrested Azharul at his Moghbazar home in the capital on August 22 last year after the tribunal issued an arrest warrant against him in connection with wartime offences.