DHAKA: Supreme Court of Bangladesh on Thursday upheld a death sentence against pro-Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami leader A T M Azharul Islam for “war crimes”.
Following the latest court verdict, the JI leader is likely be executed in next few months. He was given the death penalty in 2014 for “rape, murder and genocide during the 1971 war” between Pakistan and India, following which Bangladesh was separated from the former. Earlier, five JI leaders and dozens of other people including a former minister of Bangladesh Nationalist Party have been hanged for their alleged role in the war.
Defence lawyer Khandker Mahbub Hossain apprised the media that the bench of the top court led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain had rejected the convict’s appeal in this regard.
“We will file a review petition against the verdict,” AFP quoted the counsel as saying. He said Azharul Islam, now 67-year-old, was an 18-year-old student during the war and did not have a leading role. He has said that the charges against his client were fancied.
It is worth-mentioning that all previous review petitions in 1971 war crime cases have been overturned so far.
Azharul Islam, who has been assistant secretary general of JI, is the last leader from his party to be accused of war crimes. He was alleged of murdering 1,200 people in Rangpur.