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Bangladeshi tribunal wraps up trial of key 1971 war crimes accused

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 16:37

Dhaka: A special Bangladeshi tribunal on Wednesday wrapped up the high-profile trial of top fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami leader and former minister Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, a key accused in the 1971 war crimes case.

"The case is being kept as CAV (curia advisari vult)," said chairman of the second International Crimes Tribunal Justice Obaidul Haque citing a Latin term meaning the court now could pronounce the verdict any day as the proceedings of the case were wrapped up.

Court officials said the high-powered tribunal is now expected to issue a date anytime for delivering the judgment on charges of 1971 "crimes against humanity" brought against Mojaheed who was present before the tribunal as the order came.

Mojaheed, who is the general secretary of Jammat, served as Minister of Social Welfare from 2001 to 2007 in the BNP-led four-party alliance government.

The tribunal had indicted Mojaheed on June 21, 2012 on seven counts including the planned massacre of the country`s leading intelligentsia in collaboration with the Pakistani troops just two days ahead of Bangladesh`s December 16, 1971 victory with crucial Indian help.

Mojaheed was a top leader of elite Al Badr militia which was opposed to Bangladesh`s 1971 independence.

Seventeen people testified against him in the tribunal whereas only his son appeared as a defence witness.

He was arrested in June, 2010 and the prosecution submitted formal charges on Jan 26 while the prosecution concluded their arguments two weeks ago seeking the capital punishment for Mojaheed.

"...The death penalty would be appropriate for such a devil [Mojaheed]," Prosecutor Tureen Afroz told the tribunal-2 at the end of the prosecution arguments.

But the defence completed their arguments claiming that the prosecution had failed to prove the charges brought against Mojaheed.

Bangladesh constituted the high powered International Crimes Tribunal in 2010 in line with ruling Awami League`s electoral pledges but demands for the war crimes trial resurfaced in 2008 after Mojahid ridiculed the liberation war calling it a "civil war" and claimed the "anti-liberation forces never existed".


First Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 16:36

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