Nizami trial: Cross-exam of IO continues

Nizami trial: Cross-exam of IO continues

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The International Crimes Tribunal-1 on Wednesday  asked the defence counsel for war crimes accused Jamaat-e-Islami ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami to conclude cross-examination of the investigation officer by tomorrow (Thursday) as the questions over cross-examination appeared ‘pointless’.   “You’re killing time for nothing, come to the point,” Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, chairman of the three-member tribunal, told defence counsel Mizanul Islam during cross-examination for the fourth day.   Differing with the tribunal, advocate Mizanul Islam said: “Tribunal’s surmise is not correct in this regard. Besides, it is an absurd proposition to finish the cross-examination by the set deadline without exhausting questions over the acceptability of the IO’s statement. I can’t do it.”   “How long will you continue?” asked the tribunal. In reply, Mizanul said: “I can’t fix the time limit, but it will be reasonable.”   Earlier, while facing the cross-examination, ASP Abdur Razzaq Khan, the IO, also the last prosecution witness, said: “I can’t say whether press censorship was in force after the execution of ‘Operation Searchlight’ on March 25, 1971, which was a planned Pakistan military atrocity to curb the Bangalee nationalist movement in Bangladesh.”   He said: “During my investigation, I could not find any news aired during the 1971 Liberation War by BBC or Voice of America (VoA) introducing Motiur Rahman Nizami as the chief of Al Badr. Even I could not collect any such news aired by any other electronic media till 1980.”   During the cross-examination, detained accused Jamaat leader was produced before the tribunal.   A former minister during the past BNP-Jamaat rule, Nizami is being tried on charges of involvement in murders and torture of unarmed people along with hatching conspiracy, planning, incitement and complicity to commit genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army.   Also the president of Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS), the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1971, Nizami faces 16 counts of charges based on 16 separate incidents of crimes against humanity, in which at least 600 unarmed people were killed and 31 women raped during the Liberation War.   On December 11, 2011, the prosecution submitted the formal charge against Nizami before the tribunal.   On January 9, 2012, the tribunal took cognisance of the formal charge against Nizami for facing the trial of crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War.   On May 28, 2012, the tribunal indicted the Jamaat ameer for committing the 1971 crimes against humanity.   On June 29, 2010, Nizami was arrested in front of the National Press Club after a magistrate court in Dhaka issued warrant of arrest in connection with a criminal case over hurting religious sentiment of Muslims. Later he was shown arrested in connection with the war crimes case. – UNB

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