Jamaat leader fit for court appearance: Bangladesh authorities

Bangladesh`s prison authorities have said fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami chief Matiur Rahman Nizami was fit for court appearance, 10 days after a special tribunal deferred the verdict on war crimes charges against him due to his sickness.

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s prison authorities have said fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami chief Matiur Rahman Nizami was fit for court appearance, 10 days after a special tribunal deferred the verdict on war crimes charges against him due to his sickness.

"We have sent his (Nizami`s) latest health report to the (Bangladesh`s) International Crimes Tribunal...His physical condition is now stable," a prison spokesman told newsmen Friday.

Senior superintendent of Dhaka Central Jail Farman Ali said Nizami was sent to specialised state-run Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) for check-up yesterday and doctors there said his physical condition was stable.
Ali said on return from the BSMMU, 69-year old Nizami was sent back to his designated cell at the prison instead of the jail hospital, where he was kept for the past several days.

On June 24, the tribunal deferred the verdict on Nizami, accused of war crimes during the country`s liberation war against Pakistan in 1971, at the last minute after authorities said he was sick and could not be moved from jail.

"Now, after getting the medical report, the tribunal may fix a new date for the verdict," a prosecution lawyer at the tribunal today said while tribunal officials acknowledged they received the latest medical report from the jail authorities.

The judgement in the case is expected to end a major phase of the trial of crimes against humanity during the 1971 liberation war as Nizami is the last high-profile accused to be tried. If convicted, he could face death penalty.
Almost the entire leadership of Jamaat-e-Islami stands accused of war crimes.

Eight people have been so far handed down death sentences and two others were sentenced to life term since the trial of war crimes began in 2011 by two tribunals set up by the Awami League government.

One of the major charges against Nizami is the systematic elimination of the leading intelligentsia just two days ahead of the Bangladesh`s December 16, 1971 victory.

Only one among those sentenced in the war crimes cases, Jamaat`s joint secretary general Abdul Quader Mollah, has so far been executed.

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