[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Bangladesh defers verdict on Jamaat leader

Court ruling on Motiur Rahman Nizami, who faces charges including mass killing to rape, is postponed due to illness.

Last updated: 24 Jun 2014 11:42
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Nizami, the president of Jamaat, faces 16 charges including mass killing, rape and arson [AP]

Bangladesh's war crimes court has postponed a verdict on the leader of the country's largest Islamist party for alleged crimes committed during the 1971 independence struggle, according to local media.

Motiur Rahman Nizami, 71, faces 16 charges including mass killings, rape, arson and genocide, relating to violence committed by a militia.

The court deferred the verdict after prison authorities informed the International Crimes Tribunal that Nizami was sick, the Daily Star newspaper reported.

The head of a three-judge panel, M Enayetur Rahim, said a new date for the verdict will not be set until the judges see a detailed medical report on Nizami.

Thousands of extra security officials were deployed across the country ahead of the verdict.

Jamaat leaders convicted last year
Ghulam Azam - ex-Jamaat chief sentenced to 90 years in jail.
The following leaders were sentenced to death:
  • Delwar Hossain Sayeedi
  • Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid
  • Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury
  • Muhammad Kamaruzzaman
  • Abdul Kader Mullah
  • Abul Kalam Azad

Similar verdicts last year, which included the execution of a senior Jamaat leader, sparked nationwide protests in which 200 people were killed.

Nizami, the president of Jamaat-e-Islami, pleaded not guilty and accuses the country's secular government of using the special war crimes court to target opposition leaders.

Prosecutors said Nizami was one of the chief architects of the mass killings of Bengalis in the 1971 independence war against Pakistan.

The government says three million people died in the war. Independent researchers put the estimate between 300,000 and 500,000.

"He established the al-Badr forces during the war to support the Pakistani army," prosecutor Mohammad Ali told the AFP news agency.

As the head of al-Badr, he was involved "in committing crimes against humanity such as genocide, murder, rape and arson" as well as the murder of some of the country's top intellectuals, Ali said.

Nizami, a minister in the Islamist-allied government between 2001-06, is already on death row for trying to traffic weapons to a rebel group in northeast India.

In total, 11 top opposition figures - nine from Jamaat and two from the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party - stand accused of war crimes.

Rights groups say the war crimes court falls short of international standards.

The latest verdict would be the first since the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, won a general election in January, which was marred by widespread fraud and a boycott by all opposition parties.

Jamaat was banned from participating.

450

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list