Jamaat-e-Islami Chief Nizami sentenced to Death

Dhaka, Oct.29: The International Crimes Tribunal-1 sentenced Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami to death after finding him guilty in eight of the sixten war crime charges levelled against him.

The special tribunal said Nizami deserved death on the basis of the charge of committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War of 1971 that eventually led to the creation of Bangladesh from what was then known as East Pakistan.

The verdict was announced five minutes after Nizami was produced before the tribunal.

M Enayetur Rahim, chairman of the three-member judges panel of the International Crimes Tribunal-1, delivered an introductory speech for five minutes, the Daily Star reports.

Later, Justice Anwarul Haque explained the 16 charges levelled against the 71-year-old war crimes accused.

After he completed, the other judge of the panel, Justice Jahangir Hossain, started reading out summary of the 204-page verdict.

Nizami has already been given death penalty in the sensational 10-truck arms haul case in January this year.

Five top Jamaat leaders have already been punished for their 1971 crimes and Nizami is among three other top leaders now being tried in war crimes tribunals the Awami League-led government formed in 2010 to bring the perpetrators of 1971 to book.

Security was tight in and around the court premises to ward off violence centwring the pronouncement of the verdict.

After a 22-month trial proceedings, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 led by its Chairman, Justice M Enayetur Rahim, had yesterday fixed today to pronounce the verdict.

Nizami, the Jamaat-e-Islami chief since November 2000, was shifted from Kashimpur jail to Dhaka Central Jail around 8 p.m. yesterday. There, jail doctors conducted a health check-up and found him sound, Farman Ali, senior jail super of Dhaka jail, told The Daily Star last night.

The ICT-1 framed 16 charges against Nizami on May 28, 2012. According to the charges, Nizami had conspired with the Pakistani army, planned and incited crimes; was complicit in murders, rapes, looting and destruction of property; and was responsible for commissioning of internationally recognised wartime crimes in 1971.

The tribunal first kept the case awaiting verdict on November 13 last year. But the proceeding faced further delay when tribunal's chairman Justice ATM Fazle Kabir went on retirement without delivering the judgment. His successor reheard the closing arguments and kept the verdict waiting again on March 24.

The tribunal could not deliver verdict on June 24 due to his sudden "illness" forcing the court to keep it waiting again.

The Jamaat chief played a key role in forming the four-party alliance ahead of the 2001 election and led his party to taste state power along with their key ally the BNP.

He and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, who was convicted in war crimes last year, became members of Khaleda Zia's cabinet, amid protests from the pro-liberation minds. (ANI)

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