The three-judge International Crimes Tribunal -1 on Wednesday handed death sentence to former Jamaat MP Abu Saleh Mohammad Abdul Aziz Mia alias Ghoramara Aziz, 65, and five others, all from Sundarganj, Gaibandha, finding them guilty of committing crimes against humanity at different places under the then Gaibandha Sadar and Sundarganj thanas in what was then Gaibandha sub-division in 1971.
The presiding judge, Justice Md Shahinur Islam, pronounced the unanimous verdict in the courtroom.
Justice Amir Hossain and Judge Md Abu Ahmed Jamadar read out parts of the verdict.
Md Abdul Latif, 61, the lone convict now in jail custody, looked pensive in the dock as he listened to the verdict pronouncement that the convicts’ death would be carried out by hanging.
The other convicts, Aziz, Md Ruhul Amin alias Monju, 61, Md Abdul Latif, 61, Abu Muslim Mohammad Ali, 59, Md Nazmul Huda, 60, and Md Abdur Rahim Miah, 62, were tried in absentia as they are absconding.
The tribunal directed the home secretary and the inspector general of police to nab the absconding convicts.
The verdict said that the six were found guilty of all the three charges.
The convicts were handed death for murdering local Chhatra League leader Boyz Uddin of Sundarganj on October 13, 1971.
On October 10, 1971, Boyz was abducted from Matherhat Bridge under Sundarganj and over the next three days he was tortured in confinement.
The 2nd unanimous death sentence was handed to them for murdering two union council chairmen
and 11 members of five union councils in Sundarganj on October 13, 1971.
The victims were abducted from their homes and detained at Sundarganj army camp for two days before they were murdered on the bank of the Teesta River.
The six were jailed for life until death for the premeditated murder of Ganesh Chandra Barman of the village Moujamali, Gaibandha Sadar police station, on October 9, 1971.
According to the verdict the life terms of the convicts would get merged with their death sentences when they get executed.
Later, prosecutor Tureen Afroz and her colleagues told reporters that justice had been done to the victims and their surviving family members.
Latif’s defence lawyer Khandker Rezaul Alam said that his client would appeal against the verdict.
The state defence lawyer Gazi MH Tamim who represented all the five absconding convicts said the war crimes case against former MP Aziz was politically motivated.
He said his clients were denied justice.
He said that only one of prosecution witnesses was a freedom fighter while the other prosecution witnesses were aged 11 or 12 in 1971.
The verdict called Aziz ‘a notorious Razakar commander and convict Ruhul Amin as his accomplice.
According to the prosecution, Aziz and Monju formed the local Peace Committee and raised the local Razakar force.
In 1971, Aziz, Latif and Nazmul were active members of Jamaat while Muslim was an active member of Islami Chattra Shangha, then the student front of Jamaat.
The formal charge did not specify political identities of the two others convicts.
Their trial began on August 2, 2016.
This was the 29th verdict in as many war crimes cases on Bangladesh’s free soil.
It was ICT-1’s 18th verdict.
On June 28, 2016, the six war crimes perpetrators were indicted.
During the trial, 15 prosecution witnesses were examined.
No defence witnesses were produced.
Until now, 59 war offenders were convicted, 37 of them to death while 22 others were jailed.
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