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War crimes: SC to hear appeals of Azhar, Qaiser on Oct 10

DHAKA, Aug 13, 2017 (BSS) - The apex court today set October 10 to start its hearing on the appeals filed by convicted war criminals, ATM Azharul Islam and Syed Mohammad Qaiser, challenging their sentences handed down by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT).

A three-member Appellate Division bench headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the order, asking the defence in both the cases to submit concise statement of their appeals by August 24.

The now defunct International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-2 on December 23, 2014 sentenced former Jatiya Party state minister Qaiser to death as the 14 charges of crimes against humanity out of the total 16 against him were proven beyond any doubt.

The tribunal handed down the death penalty on seven charges, life
imprisonment on four charges, jail terms of 10, 7 and 5 years on three
charges. Qaiser was acquitted of the remaining two charges. But the jail terms will naturally merge into the sentence of death.

The tribunal in its observation also asked the state to initiate a
compensation scheme for the rape victims of 1971 and the war babies.

Qaiser filed appeal against his conviction on January 19, 2015.

Meanwhile, the ICT-1 on December 30, 2014, sentenced Jamaat-e-Islami
Assistant Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam to death for his crimes against humanity committed in Rangpur during the War of Liberation. It found him guilty on five of the total six charges.

The court said he should be hanged for the charge no -2, 3 and 4.

In the charge no-2, he was accused of gunning down 15 unarmed innocent civilians in Dhappara area in Rangpur on April 16. In charge no- 3, he was accused of committing massacre at Jharuarbeel and killing of more than 1200 unarmed civilians on April 17. And in charge number-3, he was accused of abduction and murder of four teachers of Carmichael College and others on April 30.

Besides, he was sentenced to a total of 30 years of imprisonment in the remaining charge no-5 and 6 for raping women after confining them to Rangpur Town Hall between March 25 and December 16, 1971 and torturing of Shawkat Hossain and Rafiqul Hasan between mid November and December 1.

Azhar filed appeal against his conviction on January 28, 2015.