Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hazari cleared of all charges

The High Court on Thursday acquitted former Awami League MP Joynal Abedin Hazari of charges of illegal possession of arms in a case in which the controversial politician had been found guilty and jailed to seven years.

The bench of justices Rezaul Haque and Abu Zafor Siddique passed the order on Thursday by disposing Hazari's petition to scrap the case.

His lawyer M Saiful Alam told that through Thursday's acquittal ruling, Hazari has now been cleared of all punishments handed down by the trial court.

Later in a media statement, the counsel said a case was lodged with the Feni Sadar Police Station in connection with the recovery of seven ammunitions from Hazari's political office at Love Market in Feni municipal area on Aug 17, 2001.

The Speedy Trial Tribunal of Chittagong on Sep 28, 2003 sentenced the alleged godfather of an organised crime network in Feni to seven years in prison in the case.

Following Hazari's petition for cancellation of the case, the High Court on June 4, 2009 issued a rule on the government and asked it why he should not be exonerated from the prison sentence.

After a hearing on the rule, the High Court on Thursday delivered the verdict overturning Hazari's conviction and sentence by the Chittagong tribunal, Saiful Alam added.

Advocate Mohammad Waziullah and M Saiful Alam argued for Hazari at the hearing while deputy attorney general Zahirul Islam represented the state.

Saiful Alam said Hazari was accused in a total of 27 cases and sentenced in five. The High Court has acquitted him in all the five cases.

He said the former Feni MP secured bail in 21 cases from the trial court and currently, a murder case is pending with a Comilla court.

Allegations of massive corruption and terrorism were levelled against Hazari during the 1996-2001 tenure of the Awami League government. Hazari was said to have fled the country on Aug 16 when a non-party caretaker government took office in 2001.

The controversial AL leader returned to the country after long eight years in 2009 when AL again came into office for a second term.

Hazari surrendered to a Feni court on April 15, 2009 in a money laundering case and was immediately sent to Comilla jail. He was set free on Sep 2 the same year.