Dhaka – A special tribunal has started reading out the verdict of a case against a former lawmaker and eight others related to crimes committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of liberation from Pakistan.
A three-member panel of judges headed by Justice M Anwarul Haque began delivering the short version of 768-page verdict as the prime accused Shakhawat Hossain, a former lawmaker of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, was on the dock.
The defendants were accused of genocide, torture, rape and other crimes against humanity during the nine-month war, court officials said Wednesday.
Earlier on July 14, after ending the law point arguments from both the prosecution and the defense, the International Crimes Tribunal kept the verdict waiting.
Of the accused, six are on the run. They are: Ibrahim Hossain, Sheikh Mohammad Mujibur Rahman, M Abdul Aziz Sardar, MA Aziz, Kazi Ohidul and Abdul Khalek Morol.
Shakhawat Hossain and Billal Hossain, arrested after the ICT issued warrant for them, now on the dock.
In, 2015, another accused, Lutfar Morol, died in prison.
On September 8, 2015, the international Crimes tribunal (ICT) took the charges against the nine accused into cognizance.
The tribunal also acquitted three other accused– Ojihar Morol, Akram Hossain and Moshiur Rahman– of the cases after it failed to bring no specific charges against them.
On July 26, 2015, the prosecution framed five counts of charges against Shakhawat and 11 others for their alleged involvement in crimes against humanity during 1971 liberation war.
On November 29, 2014, law enforcers detained Sakhawat from Dhaka’s Uttarkhan neighbourhood over war crimes charges in accordance with an investigation launched in April 2012.
Shakhawat, a central committee member of the then Islami Chhatra Sangha (now Islami Chhatra Shibir) during the war, was charged for aiding Pakistani army and torturing civilians in Hisladanga Razakar camp of Keshabpur in 1971.
He was elected MP on Jamaat ticket from Keshabpur constituency in 1991. He was also nominated by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in the February 15 election in 1996 while Jatiya Party nominated him for the January-5 election.
His candidature was cancelled on the war crimes charges in the latest elections he tried to contest.