Former Jamaat lawmaker from Gaibandha Abu Saleh Mohammad Aziz Mia and five others were sentenced to death on Wednesday for committing crimes against humanity during Bangla-desh’s liberation war in 1971.
The five others are Md Abdul Latif, Abu Muslim Mohammad Ali, Md Abdur Rahim Mia, Md Ruhul Amin and Md Nazmul Huda.
Of them, only Latif is behind bars while the other persons are at large.
The court directed the home ministry and inspector general of police to take necessary step to arrest the fugitive convicts.
The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) headed by Justice Md Shahinur Islam awarded them death sentence on Wednesday, considering gravity of offence committed by them.
Two other members of the tribunal are Justice Amir Hossain and former special judge of Dhaka Md Abu Ahmed Jamadar.
It is the 29th verdict of the ICT on war crimes cases while first verdict on the part of the newly revamped tribunal. On October 10, the tribunal was recast with Shahinur Islam as its chairman following the death of his predecessor Justice Anwarul Haque on July 13.
The first part of the 166-page verdict was read out by judge Ahmed Jamadar while the second part by justice Amir Hossain and the last part by chairman of the tribunal justice Shahinur Islam.
All three counts of war crimes charges brought against Aziz Mia and others by the prosecution were proved beyond doubt.
The tribunal awarded death sentence to them for the second and third charges while it sentenced them to imprisonment unto death for the first charge.
Aziz Mia and five others were directly involved in the killing of 14 pro-liberation people, including 13 public representatives, to make the area leaderless.
Aziz Mia and co-accused shot Chhatra League leader Boyz Uddin dead and dumped his body underground on October 13, 1971, according to the second charge.
Former Jamaat MP Aziz accompanied by Pakistani armed forces detained 13 union council chairmen and members during a period from October 10 to 13. Later, Aziz and others killed them near a river and dumped the bodies, says the third charge.
According to the first charge, Aziz along with 25-30 Pakistani soldiers attacked many houses in Moujamali village under Gaibandha Sadar upazila on October 9 in 1971.
They picked up and persecuted four unarmed pro-liberation men. Ganesh Chandra Barman, one of the four persons, was thrown into water with his arms and legs tied.
Aziz Mia was the lawmaker of Sundarganj-1 constituency in Gaibandha from 2001 to 2006 during BNP-Jamaat regime.
He along with others committed mass killing, abduction and looting in Gaibandha area during the war. On December 27 in 2015, the convicts were indicted for wartime crimes.
The tribunal led by Justice Anwarul Haque concluded hearing the case on May 9 and kept the matter as judgment awaiting verdict (CAV).
But after his death, the revamped tribunal again heard arguments of defence and prosecution lawyers on October 23 and kept the matter as CAV.
Advocate Khandker Rezaul appeared for Latif while Gazi MH Tamim for the fugitive convicts.
Barrister Tureen Afroz and Syed Sayedul Haque appeared as prosecution lawyers.
Tureen Afroz told reporters that the convicts are old now but their age is not the mitigating factor. The tribunal awarded capital punishment considering the gravity of the offence committed by them.
Sayedul Haque said the prosecution succeeded in proving all charges against Aziz and others.
Meanwhile, defence lawyers said their clients are aggrieved by the verdict and they will file appeal with the Supreme Court.