Category Archives: Trial of ATM Azharul Islam

26 December 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – ATM Azharul Islam, Hearing on Petition for Review of the Charge Framing Order

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following case:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. ATM Azharul Islam

In the case against ATM Azharul Islam, the Tribunal recorded the testimony of a Prosecution witness in camera today. At the beginning of today’s proceedings the Tribunal asked both the Prosecution and the Defense to affirm before the Tribunal that neither would disclose the identity or the content of the testimony of this witness. The Defense sought to have four lawyers from the Defense team present during the testimony. The Tribunal granted this request. The remainder of proceedings were in closed session.

15 December 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – ATM Azharul Islam, Hearing on Petition for Review of the Charge Framing Order; Mobarak Hossain, DW-1

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. ATM Azharul Islam  
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Mobarak Hossain

ATM Azharul Islam

In the case against ATM Azharul Islam, today was set for hearing an application filed by the Defense for review of the charge framing order. Junior Defense Counsel sought adjournment for one additional day, saying that senior Defense Counsel Abdur Razzak could not appear due to “personal difficulties.” The Prosecution opposed the request. The Court asked the junior Defense Counsel whether he could assure the Tribunal that his senior would definitely appear the next day, if granted another adjournment.  The junior Defense Counsel replied that he could not ensure the appearance of his Senior. The Tribunal therefore denied the request for adjournment, and rejected the petition for review of the Charge Framing Order, stating that the review petition had no substance.  The Tribunal noted that it had already deferred the hearing four times.  In denying the original motion, the Order of the Court concluded the charges had been properly framed on the basis of documents filed by the Prosecution.

Mobarak Hossain

In the case against Mobarak Hossain, today was set for recording the testimony of Defense Witness 1, the Accused. Senior Defense Counsel was absent, so junior Defense Counsel conducted the examination-in-chief. The Tribunal recorded the testimony of the Accused as DW-1. Thereafter, the Prosecution cross-examined Mobarak Hossain. The Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until 24 December 2013.        Continue reading

8 December 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Contempt Proceedings against The Economist magazine and Human Rights Watch; Mobarak Hossain, Defense Case-in-Chief; ATM Azharul Islam, Pre-Trial hearing on charge framing order

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Mobarak Hossain
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Human Rights Watch
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs. Adam Roberts and Others (The Economist)
  4. Chief Prosecutor vs. ATM Azharul Islam  

Contempt Proceedings Against Human Rights Watch

On 2 September 2013, the Tribunal issued a notice to Human Rights Watch Board of Directors, Executive Directors of Asia Division, Brad Adams, and Associate of Asian Division, Storm Tiv, asking them to submit an explanation within three weeks as to why contempt proceedings should not be brought against them for the publication of an article about the Gholam Azam case, entitled ‘Bangladesh: Azam Conviction Based on Flawed Proceedings: Analysis Outlines how Fair Trial, Rights of Accused Seriously Compromised.’

Today, 8 December 2013, had been set for submissions of the reply. However, Md Asaduzzaman appeared on behalf of Human Rights Watch and informed the Tribunal that, although they had already submitted the vokalotnama (power of Attorney) he did not receive the relevant documents from the Prosecution until today.  Accordingly, Counsel sought adjournment for 8 weeks. The Tribunal granted the request in pat, but set the date to reconvene the proceedings on 7 January 2014.

Contempt Proceedings Against The Economist

In the contempt proceedings against Economist, today was set for passing order on show cause notice. However, the Tribunal elected to delay until 29 December 2013.

Mobarak Hossain

In the case of Mobarak Hossain, today was set for recording the testimony of the Defense Witness 1. However the senior Defense Counsel for Mobarak Hossain was absent, and junior Defense Counsel sought adjournment for one day. The Tribunal  granted the request, and adjourned the proceedings of the case until tomorrow, 9 December 2013.

ATM Azharul Islam

In the case of ATM Azharul Islam, today was set to hear a petition filed by Defense to review the charge framing order, as well as a petition filed by the Prosecution to allow three Prosecution witnesses to testify in camera. However, the senior Defense Counsel Abdur Razzak, who was supposed to make submission on behalf of the Defense, was again not present at the Tribunal.  Once again, junior Defense Counsel sought adjournment for two days, citing “personal difficulties.”  The Judges of ICT-1 granted the petition for adjournment, but noted that they had allowed adjournments three times already.  They warned Defense Counsel that this would be the last time they would allow the adjournment for hearing on these petitions.

The Tribunal set 10 December 2013 for hearing on these petitions.

5 December 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – ATM Azharul Islam, Pre-Trial hearing on charge framing order, Prosecution opening statements.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following case:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. ATM Azharul Islam

In the case of ATM Azharul Islam, today was set to hear a petition filed by Defense to review the charge framing order. The hearing was previously rescheduled on December 2.  However, the senior Defense Counsel Abdur Razzak, who was supposed to argue the petition, was once again absent from the Tribunal.  Defense again sought adjournment on the grounds of “personal difficulties.” The Tribunal agreed once again to push back the hearing, setting 8 December for the review petition.

Despite senior Defense Counsel’s absence, the Prosecution proceeded to place their opening statements and read out all of the six charges brought against ATM Azharul Islam.  The allegations accuse him of genocide, killings, abduction, confinement, torture, rape, looting and arson attack. The Prosecution described ATM Azharul Islam as President of Islami Chhatra Shangho (student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami) and Al-Badr commander of Rangpur. The Tribunal set 19 December 2013 to begin recording the testimony of Prosecution witnesses. The Prosecution also filed a petition to allow three Prosecution witnesses to testify in camera. The Tribunal set 8 December 2013 for a hearing of arguments from the parties on this petition.

2 December 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – ATM Azharul Islam, Pre-Trial hearing on charge framing order

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following case:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. ATM Azharul Islam

In the case of ATM Azharul Islam, today was set for hearing a petition filed by Defense to review the charge framing order. However, the Defense sought an adjournment for two days saying that the senior Defense Counsel Abdur Razzak could not appear before the Tribunal due to personal difficulties. Once again, the “personal difficulties” explanation for Defense Counsel absence coincides with hartal or blockade days. The Tribunal allowed the request for adjournment.  Proceedings in the case are scheduled to resume 5 December 2013.

12 November 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Hartal Coverage of Mobarak Hossain, Motiur Rahman Nizami, and ATM Azharul Islam

 Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases: 

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Mobarak Hossain
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs. ATM Azharul Islam

In the case of Mobarak Hossain, today was set for further cross-examination of the Investigation officer. The junior Defense Counsel submitted that senior Defense Counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena is in Chittagong and could not reach Dhaka due to ongoing nationwide Hartals. The Tribunal consented to adjourn the proceedings of the case until tomorrow, 13 November 2013.

In the case of Motiur Rahman Nizami, the junior Defense Counsel submitted that his seniors could not come to the Tribunal due to “personal difficulties.”  The Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until tomorrow, 13 November 2013. The Tribunal further directed the Defense to submit their closing arguments in writing.

In the case of ATM Azharul Islam, the Tribunal indicted ATM Azharul Islam and framed six charges against him. Thereafter, the Tribunal set 5 December for submitting opening statements, and asked the Defense to submit a list of witness, if any, and other relevant documents by that time.

October 2013: ICT-1 Monthly Overview of Progress of Cases

Due to funding uncertainties late in the year, our project was forced to take a hiatus in the month of October.  During this time, our trial observers were not physically present in the courtroom to observe proceedings.  Trial observation resumed in November, after additional funding was secured to continue the project.  In the interest of continuity, we have compiled two brief posts—one for ICT-1 and the other for ICT-2— highlighting major developments in each of the cases that took place during our October hiatus. As we have done with Hartal coverage of the proceedings, the following information was compiled from official court records and communication with the parties to the proceedings.

This month, the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. ATM Azharul Islam
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
  4. Contempt Proceedings

Salauddin Qader Chowdhury

In the case of Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, Tribunal 1 issued a verdict on 1 October 2013. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury was found guilty and sentenced to death for charges 3, 5, 6 and 8. He received 70 years imprisonment for  charges 2, 4, 7, 17 and 18. He was acquitted of 8 charges, and the Prosecution did not submit any evidence on the remaining 6 charges. During the pronouncement of verdict, the Accused Salauddin Qader Chowdhury alleged that the verdict had already leaked and was available on the website. Continue reading