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Dhaka Tribune

Ghulam Azam's defence argument adjourned

Update : 09 Apr 2013, 11:47 AM

The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT-1) adjourned Ghulam Azam’s defence argument until Thursday due to the 36-hour countrywide strike.

Tuesday was the defence’s last day to present the argument, but defence chief counsel Barrister Abdur Razzaq was not present before the tribunal. At his earlier plea, the three-judge panel of Tribunal-1 adjourned the session till Thursday.  

As the tribunal started its proceedings, advocate Raihan Uddin, a junior defence counsel, submitted an application seeking adjournment for two days citing “personal difficulties” for Abdur Razzaq.The tribunal adjourned the hearing until April 11 and asked the junior defence counsel to tell Barrister Razzaq to appear on that day.

On March 27, the tribunal charged Ghulam Azam’s counsel Tk5,000 because of their absence. The tribunal said, “We always notice that on Hartal days the defence does not appear in front of the tribunal. We find this to be unprofessional behaviour. They have to face consequences for it."

The tribunal also said, if the defencefailed to show up on future strike days, the argument would be closed for them.

The next day Barrister Abdur Razzaq submitted a recall petition. In his plea he said,“I am not ready to appear before the tribunal on a strike day. It is not easy to me.” He said that even the appellate division considered his absence on the strike days. They pleaded for recalling the order saying “if the defence is compelled to close the argument, it will be unable to place its case.”

However, the ICT-1 accepted their plea and adjourned the argument session due to the strike.  Tuesday was the last session for the defence argument.

A total of sixteen witnesses including historian and war crimes researcher Prof Muntasir Mamun, human rights activist Sultana Kamal, noted musician Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul, freedom fighter Mahbub Uddin Ahmed, and eminent war crimes researcher Shahriar Kabir testified against Ghulam Azam.

The defence argument started on March 10, but the prosecution placed their arguments last month. Ghulam Azam was indicted for crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War, on May 13 last year. The tribunal framed five charges including conspiracy, planning, and incitement, based on 61 counts.

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