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Azad verdict today

Times National Desk - January 21st, 2013

The International Crimes Tribunal-2, designed to try the war crimes suspects, will deliver its maiden verdict on Monday with the judgement of expelled Jamaat member Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, known as Bachchu Razakar. AKM Nasiruddin Mahmud, registrar of the ICT, disclosed the information to reporters at his office on Sunday.
Azad, the former leader of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the then student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, went into hiding around seven hours before ICT-2 issued an arrest warrant against him on April 3, last year.
Earlier on November 4, Azad was indicted with eight charges of crimes against humanity, based on eight incidents that left at least 12 unarmed people dead and two women raped in Faridpur during the country’s Liberation War in 1971.
On July 26, the investigation agency, designated to deal with war crimes probes, completed its enquiry against Azad and handed over the report to the prosecution on July 29.
On September 2, the prosecution submitted the formal charges against Azad accusing him of 10 types of crimes against humanity.
The tribunal on October 7 decided to hold Azad’s trial in his absence as even after publication of newspaper ads asking him to appear before the tribunal he failed to show up. The tribunal appointed Supreme Court lawyer Abdus Sukur Khan as the defence lawyer for Azad.
The tribunal started recording the prosecution’s opening statement and testimonies of witnesses on November 26.
Prosecution and defence placed their closing arguments on December 23, 24 and 26.
In Azad’s case, it took only one month to complete recording testimonies of witnesses and arguments of both sides, as there were no defence witnesses in the case filed in connection with crimes against humanity.
Twenty-two prosecution witnesses, including victims and family members of victims, had testified.
The state-appointed defence counsel failed to produce any witnesses due to non-cooperation of Azad’s family members.