Jul 032014
 
Motiur Rahman Nizami

Motiur Rahman Nizami

Pulack Ghatack: Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami has recovered from his illness and he is now fit for appearing before the International Crimes Tribunal-1 (ICT-1) to stand trial for crimes against humanity, jail sources said.

Civil surgeon of Dhaka Dr Abdul Malek also confirmed improvement of Nizami’s physical condition. “He is now in good health,” Dr Malek told the Daily Observer yesterday evening.

“Nizami has already been transferred to the prison cell from the medical as his condition is now normal, he also added.

Meanwhile, the jail authorities will soon place a report to the tribunal updating it over the latest health condition of Nizami. The authorities in a report on Thursday told the ICT that health condition of Nizami had improved.

“The jail authorities also committed to send another report to the tribunal narrating physical condition of the accused,” Amitava Chakraborty, deputy registrar of the tribunal, told the Daily Observer on Tuesday.

“We are yet to get the second report,” he also said.

Shahbagh-Jahanara Imam

Millions of people demonstrated at Shahbag Square of Dhaka city demanding trial of war criminals in February 2013.

The ICT-1 was scheduled to hand down its verdict on war crimes of Nizami on June 24. But it did not pronounce the long-awaited judgement, as the jail authorities did not produce the accused before it on health ground.

The tribunal ordered the jail authorities to submit a full report before it on Nizami’s health condition as soon as possible.

“According to rules of the ICT the tribunal has the jurisdiction to deliver verdict in absence of the accused, who have lost the ability to attend the tribunal due to chronic dieses,” Prosecutor Zead Al Malum told the Daily Observer.

People, especially the war victims are eager for the verdict as the trial process began in 2010 after a series of mass movements in 40-years.

On June 24, the tribunal kept the case waiting for verdict again. The case was earlier put in CAV status for two times: Firstly on conclusion to the case on November 13, 2013, and secondly after rehearing of the arguments on March 24.

Nizami is facing 16 charges of crimes against humanity committed during the country’s Liberation War in 1971. The allegations include masterminding genocide, killing of intellectuals, loot, rape, arson, torture and confinement of people.

He has already been awarded the death penalty in the 10-truck arms haul case this year.

Nizami, the president of the then Jamaat-e-Islami student wing Islami Chhatra Sangha and chief of Pakistan army auxiliary force Al-Badr, was indicted on May 28, 2012.

Feb 252013
 

Bangladesh-protest

Dhaka, Feb 24, 2013, PTI:

At least five people, including a woman, were killed and over 50 others injured on Sunday as police opened fire during clashes with Islamists who enforced a nationwide shutdown demanding execution of “atheist bloggers” for alleged blasphemy.

Five people were killed when strike supporters clashed with the police and local people in Manikganj’s Singair upazila during the nationwide strike called by 12 Islamist parties, police and witnesses said.

“Five people including a woman were killed in clashes… the Islamist groups claimed four them to be activists of theirs,” a witness said.

The witness said that several activists of Islamist outfit Kherlafat Majlish backed by fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) attacked policemen as they intervened at the scene after the Islamists assaulted a senior ruling Awami League leader.

Feb 232013
 

AP, DHAKA, Feb 23, 2013 –  Thousands of students have rallied in Bangladesh’s capital demanding death to several Islamic political party leaders who are on trial for alleged war crimes during the country’s 1971 independence war.

Eight top leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest Islamic party, are being tried on charges of mass killings, rapes and arson during Bangladesh’s nine-month war of separation from Pakistan.

Earlier this month, a tribunal convicted party leader Abdul Quader Mollah of mass killings during the war and sentenced him to life in prison, a verdict considered lenient by many Bangladeshis.

On Saturday, about 5,000 students shouted “Death to the killers” as they rallied in Dhaka, the capital.

The government says it will appeal Mollah’s sentence before the Supreme Court this coming week, asking for the death penalty for 65-year-old.

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Feb 232013
 

By, OWEN LIPPERT

IN DHAKA the other day, I saw children dancing in the streets, swinging nooses like festive streamers.

Bangladesh, a country of 160 million, is currently experiencing a “Bengal Spring.” Hundreds of thousands of young people have responded to text messages and online bloggers and gathered nightly in Shahbag square in downtown Dhaka and elsewhere around the country. Their demand is that Abdul Kader Mullah, a leader of the Islamic political party Jamaat-I-Islami, be hanged.

Four decades after the “war of liberation” from Pakistan in 1971, ending in the birth of Bangladesh, the government has set up a special war-crimes tribunal to prosecute sympathizers with Pakistan who committed “crimes against humanity.” The tribunal has found Mr. Mullah guilty, as a young student political leader, of committing serious crimes that warranted life imprisonment. Rather than accept Mr. Mullah’s sentence as justice too-long delayed, the crowds demand his execution.

After four days of Shahbag demonstrations, Prime Minister Sheik Hasina pledged to pursue a death sentence, only to discover that the legislation establishing the tribunal allows the government to appeal a verdict, but not a sentence. The problem has been solved: the government will amend the legislation to enable an appeal of the verdict to the Supreme Court. Few doubt that Mr. Mullah will hang.

what-pakistan-left-behind-1The Bengal Spring raises key ethical issues in the prosecution of war crimes, in defining the rule of law and the nature of democracy itself.

Since independence, a combination of political crises and religious conservatism blocked the prosecution of Mr. Mullah and other Jamaat leaders. In 1975, the first prime minister, the secular and socialist Sheikh Mujib, was assassinated. That government was followed by the military dictatorship of General Zia Rahman, who in turn was assassinated. Finally, in 1990, the army retired to the cantonment. A hotly contested election in 1991 pitted the conservative Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) headed by Gen. Zia’s widow (in an alliance with Jamaat), against the Awami League, headed by Sheikh Mujib’s daughter, Sheikh Hasina.

For two decades these two women have dominated Bangladeshi politics, effectively sustaining the bitter hostilities of 1971. Each has enjoyed two terms in office, each one dogged by corruption, which prompted the most recent military intervention in 2007. Finally, in 2008 Sheikh Hasina won a resounding majority and proceeded with war-crime trials.

That her government in 2009 created a domestically controlled war-crimes tribunal rather than engage the International Criminal Court reflects the country’s suspicion of the West. Conveniently for the government, virtually all those prosecuted have affiliations with either Jamaat or the BNP – the two opposition parties.

Inexperienced judges and lawyers have led international observers (most notably The Economist) to question the integrity of the process. Still, despite procedural flaws, the trials have not been outright “drumhead justice.” The second verdict, Mr. Mullah’s, displayed a certain judicial desire for reconciliation. He received life imprisonment. Then he flashed a “V” sign as he left the courtroom – a bad move. Protests by elderly intellectuals began, but it took the bloggers to put thousands into the street.

One might expect to hear a lawyer or a human-rights activist object to retroactively changing the law in order to please the street. So far there has been silence, though in fairness events have moved quickly and unexpectedly.

What of the tribunal judges themselves? They clearly have limited independence. This appears to be a war-crimes tribunal that can issue only one verdict, guilty, and one sentence, death.

Bangladeshi political culture places great faith in mass protests, the tactic that Gandhi invented to end the British raj, and that Sheikh Mujib copied leading up to 1971. For forty years, all parties have relied on violent street demonstrations. The parliament plays a marginal role. On the one hand, the youthful composition of the crowds in Shahbag and their determination not to be suborned by any political party symbolize a refreshing rejection of politics as usual. On the other hand, their demand – death for those who fought with the Pakistani army – is a continuation of the politics of violent confrontation.

The media have proclaimed the rebirth of the “Spirit of 1971.” The movement must be welcomed if it leads to a more liberal and less violent polity. But will it? Will it go beyond settling old scores?

And herein lies the dilemma. The new leadership of bloggers and youth in Shahbag have not been calling with anywhere near as much fervor for safer conditions for garment workers, better schools, better health care, less corruption; rather, they have committed themselves to inflict deadly vengeance upon the old men of Jamaat.

A youth movement seeking death sentences regardless of the law carries within itself the germ of their parents’ politics. It is Lord of the Flies writ large. The goal should be to move beyond a four-decade-old civil war towards genuine democratic reform within the rule of law. Put away the noose.

# First published in The Globe and Mail, February 19, 2013

#Owen Lippert lives in Dhaka where he has served as head of two US AID democracy projects. He was senior policy adviser to the CIDA minister in 2007-08

Courtesy: bangladeshwatchdog.blogspot.com

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Jan 042013
 

Dhaka, Jan 4, 2013: Apparently hinting at Jamaat-Shibir, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday said BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia would not be able to save the ‘snakes’ no matter how loudly she shouts with the basket of snakes on her head, reports UNB.

“She (Khaleda) won’t be able to save the snakes no matter how loudly she shouts taking the basket full of snakes on her head,” said the Awami League president.

The premier made the remarks when the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) leaders paid a curtsey call on her at Ganobhaban marking the organisation’s 65th founding anniversary.

Pointing finger at the BNP chairperson, Hasina said, “I want to tell her that a shaman (ojha) dies from snakebites. Her situation will turn serious because of them (Jamaat) as she is roaming with the basket of snakes.”

The ruling party chief also said the trial of the war criminals is going on in the country despite desperate efforts to save the war criminals.

Hasina said the trial of those who killed people, looted people’s wealth and violated many mothers and daughters during the Liberation War in 1971 must be held on the country’s soil as it is a desire of the entire nation and common people.

“The trial must be held. We’ll surely accomplish the trial,” she said.

Taking a swipe at a section of civil society members, the Prime Minister said, “Whenever any military or military-backed caretaker government assumes power, their importance rises and they get national flags in their vehicles.”

She went on: “That’s why they don’t want continuation of the democratic process in the country; rather they always try to destroy democracy. Conspiracy will be there but we’ll have to ensure the continuation of democracy.”

She claimed that the military dictators destroyed the politics of the country. “Otherwise, country’s politics could have been better.”

Hasina advised the BCL leaders and activists to give priority to their studies. “Study comes first and then the organisation. During examination, study will be the one and only work.”

She urged them to come up with brilliant results bringing pride for their parents and organisation.

The AL chief also asked the students to get involved in the organisational activities maintaining moral values.

BCL president HM Badiuzzaman Sohag and general secretary Siddique Nazmul Alam also spoke on the occasion.

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Jan 042013
 

Yangon, Jan 3, 2013 : About 13,000 boat people, including many stateless Rohingya Muslims, fled Myanmar and neighbouring Bangladesh in 2012 with hundreds dying during the perilous sea voyage, the UN said on Friday.

A wave of deadly sectarian violence in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine has triggered an exodus of refugees, mostly heading for Malaysia, reports AFP.

“We know of at least 485 people who’ve drowned or are lost at sea,” said Vivian Tan, spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency, adding the real death toll was probably far higher.

“These numbers are very worrying,” Tan said.

“The fact that even women and children are increasingly risking this journey shows the growing sense of desperation among the Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladesh,” she added.

More than 10,000 people have attempted the sea voyage since October 2012 — a sharp increase on last season’s departures, according to the Arakan Project, which lobbies for the rights of the Rohingya, considered by the UN to be one of the most persecuted minority groups on the planet.

“It’s already more than the previous boat season, which itself was the most we’d seen,” with more than 8,000 people making the journey, according to Arakan Project director Chris Lewa.

She said the estimate does not include boats that left the Rakhine state capital Sittwe, where tens of thousands of Rohingya are living in camps, as her NGO is not able to monitor those departures.

October is the end of the monsoon season and traditionally marks the start of an annual wave of migration by people trying to reach Malaysia from the Bay of Bengal — often on rickety wooden boats.

The latest exodus shows “the urgent need for countries in the region to respond to this humanitarian crisis by keeping their doors open to people in need of international protection from Myanmar”, the UN’s Tan said.

Myanmar views the roughly 800,000 Rohingya in Rakhine as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and denies them citizenship. Thousands more live in squalid refugee camps across the border in Bangladesh.

Malaysia has become the sole hope for many Rohingya refugees, after Bangladesh closed its shared border to them and Thailand as well as Singapore refused to provide asylum to members of the Muslim-minority group.

Kuala Lumpur expressed concern at the influx of refugees, saying Malaysia’s patience was being tested.

“There is the humanitarian aspect,” Malaysian foreign minister Anifah Aman told AFP on Friday, citing the recent rescue of 40 shipwrecked Rohingya who were turned away by Singapore.

“But we cannot allow Malaysia to become a destination of choice,” he added, noting that the country was already sheltering some 80,000 Rohingya.

About 500 Myanmar boat people swam to shore in Malaysia last weekend after a 15-day sea journey, according to police there. Another died after being hit by a boat propeller when he jumped into the sea.

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Dec 302012
 

DHAKA, Dec 30, 2012: Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni on Monday said the people of the country want nobody to recommend for those facing war crimes trial.

She came up with the official version regarding Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s recent letter to Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina calling for “clemency” to the accused under trial in the International Crimes Tribunal for the “sake of peace in the society.”

Freedom fighters, war victims, eminent personalities, politicians and leaders of different socio-cultural organizations in Bangladesh strongly condemned the Turkish effort as an interference with Bangladesh’s internal affairs.

“Foreign Ministry has taken steps so that no confusion exists regarding the matter,” Dipu Moni told journalists after an inter-ministerial meeting on sub-regional cooperation.

Apparently declining to share the content of the letter, she said, “It’s a letter written by the President of a friendly country to our President. But it’s not possible for us to take the matter easily…it’s an important and sensitive matter that triggered widespread reaction across the country.”

The Foreign Minister went on: “It’s the people’s expectation that the trial of the war criminals will be held after 40 years…and it’s the people’s expectation that nobody will recommend in favour of those accused.”

Asked whether Bangladesh would give any reply to the latter, she said, “It’s the matter of the recipients’ consideration whether there will be any reply to it.”

On the reported visit of a Turkish NGO delegation, the Foreign Minister said the Turkish citizens enjoy visa exemption and on-arrival visa facilities here in some particular categories. “We’re further looking into the matter considering what they did here using the on-arrival visa.”

She said the Foreign Ministry sought documents whether they all had such category passports who can enjoy visa exemption facility. “We’re trying to know details about that.”

Earlier, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish envoy in Dhaka and conveyed him that the attempt was tantamount to interfering in Bangladesh’s internal matters.

The Turkish embassy in Dhaka handed over the letter, written to the President and the Prime Minister, to the Foreign Ministry on December 23. The letter was sent from Ankara on December 17 and reached the offices of the President and the Prime Minister on Thursday, according to the Bangla daily report.

Meanwhile, Ankara summoned Bangladesh Ambassador to Turkey M Zulfiqur Rahman to describe its position; a day after Dhaka summoned Turkish Ambassador in Bangladesh Mehmet Vakur Erkul on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the government voiced concern over the lobbying by a Turkish NGO delegation in favour of war crimes suspects now facing trial, and conveyed its dissatisfaction to the Turkish envoy here.

Acting Foreign Secretary Mustafa Kamal conveyed the dissatisfaction clearing Bangladesh’s position in this regard.

Indian External Affairs Minister’s Visit

Dipu Moni said Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid is likely to arrive here in the middle of February to attend the next Joint Consultative Commission meeting.

“The next Joint Consultative Commission meeting will be held here in the middle of February…we hope he (Khurshid) will come here to attend the meeting,” she said.

In the first week of November, Salman Khurshid revealed his plan for Bangladesh visit during a meeting with Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on the sidelines of ASEM Summit in Vientianne, Laos.

Hydro-power Cooperation

Dipu Moni said the foreign ministry officials held a meeting and discussed the issues related to power sector cooperation with India.

“So far, we heard, they (India) have taken initiatives to install hydropower projects in two rivers (common rivers). We informed the Indian government that Bangladesh wants to go for hydropower projects under joint initiatives,” she said.

The Foreign Minister said the two rivers are on the list of Bangladesh on which the government is planning to install hydropower projects.

She said Bangladesh would suggest a joint feasibility study like the Tipaimukh Dam. “If things see feasible, we want to be partner of the projects.”

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Dec 222012
 

Dhaka, Dec 22 (UNB) – Leaders of the Awami League led 14-party alliance on Saturday reiterated that the ongoing war crimes trial will be completed at any cost defeating those conspiring against it.

“We’ll win again as in 1971 by trying the war criminals, and then we’ll bring out a victory procession,” Awami League leader Tofail Ahmed told a pre-procession rally.

The rally was held at the South gate of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque prior to bringing out a procession in the city protesting the ‘conspiracy’ of BNP-Jamaat against the ongoing trial of war crimes.

At the rally, Awami League leader Amir Hossain Amu announced that the 14-party alliance will form a human chain on January 7 across the country protesting the conspiracies of BNP-Jamaat against the trial and demanding quick completion of the trial.

After the rally, a mass procession was taken out in the city that terminated at Suhrawardy Udyan after parading Noor Hosssain Square, Paltan intersection, National Press Club and Matsya Bhaban roads, creating huge traffic congestions in the areas.

Hundreds of leaders, activists, supporters of the ruling coalition took part in the rally demanding the trial of war criminals who committed crime against humanity during the country’s Liberation War in 1971.

Tofail said BNP and Jamaat together want to foil the trial of war crimes and urged the countrymen to get united like in 1971 to try the war criminals.

Agriculture Minister and Awami League presidium member Matia Chowdhury alleged that Khaleda Zia took to the streets with a desperate attempt to stop the trial of war criminals. “We’ll take the trial to its own destination. The offenders will get the punishment for their misdeeds. No one will be able to save them,” she said.

Awami League advisory council member and minister without portfolio Suranjit Sengupta said the whole nation except Khaleda Zia and Ghulam Azam is united with the demand for the trial of war crimes.

“You had won by killing Bangabandhu on August 15, 1975 by hatching conspiracy. This time, the people of the country will win by trying the war criminals and the conspiracy will get defeated,” Suranjit added.

Workers Party president Rashed khan Menon regretted, “In the month of victory where we are supposed to celebrate the victory, but we are holding a procession demanding the trial of war crimes.”

Senior Awami League leader and former Home Minister Mohammad Nasim said opposition leader Khaleda Zia has declared a war against the people of the country.

“Her main demand is to free the killers of 1971 who are now in jail on charges of war crimes. Khaleda not only betrayed with the people of the country but also betrayed with her husband Ziaur Rahman by siding with the war criminals,” Nasim said.

Awami League joint general secretary Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal general secretary Sharif Nurul Ambia, Ganotontri Party general secretary Nurur Rahman Selim, Gano Azadi League president Abdus Samad, National Awami Party general secretary Enamul Haque also addressed the rally held with Awami League leader Amir Hossain Amu in the chair.

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Sep 202012
 

Major war crime suspect and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Maulana Abdus Sobhan arrested in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Sept 20, 2012: The Detective Branch (DB) of Bangladesh police on Thursday arrested seasoned Jamaat-e-Islami leader Maulana Abdus Sobhan, a major war crime suspect, state sponsored news agency BSS reports.

“Sobhan was arrested from the eastern part of the Bangabandhu Jamuna Bridge in Tangail,” police superintendent Hafiz Akhtar said.

According to sources, Tangail Police are quizzing the Jamaat leader, and he may be produced before the International Crimes Tribunal in Dhaka on charges of crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.

SP Hafiz said Sobhan was arrested this morning from near the toll plaza of the bridge while he was moving towards Pabna. He was subsequently taken to Pabna to produce before the court that issued the warrant against him in connection with a case filed in 2003.

But officials familiar with the 1971 war crimes trial said Sobhan could also be charged for war time crimes against humanity” and be exposed to International Crimes Tribunal.

Witnesses said plain clothe police arrested the Jamaat leader along with his two political companions as the jeep carrying them reached the eastern end of the bridge.

Jamaat activists tried to stage a violent street protest as the news reached Sobhan’s hometown Pabna prompting police actions. Several people including a police officer and two newsmen were injured in the clash between Jamaat supporters and police.

Maulana Abdus Sobhan is the member of the fundamentalist Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami’s central Shura (committee). He was a member of parliament elected from Pabna Sadar in 1991, and deputy leader of the Jamaat’s parliamentary group.

Sobhan had been serving the Jamaat-e-Islami as acting Ameer (chief) of Pabna during the liberation war and he nominated for the so-called by-election in 1971. He was the vice president of Pabna unit of Peace Committee, an organisation of Pakistani collaborators.

Different war documents suggest that Sobhan organised the auxiliary forces of Pakistan army including Al-Badar, Razakar and formed the infamous ‘Peace Committee” during the war. There are numerous allegations about his involvement in war time crimes including genocide and crimes against humanity.

As he was fluent in spoken Urdu, he easily managed to come close to the Pakistanis and become a policy maker of anti-liberation forces. He supervised almost every activities of the Razakers and Al Badars.

Sobhan became an accused under Collaborators Act in 1972 and was being tried in a special tribunal for his heinous activities during the war. He was asked to attend before the Sub-divisional magistrate court on February 29, 1972. But he fled to Pakistan with Gulam Azam at that time.  (Source : ‘Ekattorer Dalalra’ by Shafiq Ahmed and Advocate Shafiqul Islam Shibly, Patahrtala Pabna). However, he returned Bangladesh during the rules of martial law government of General Zia who had scrapped the the collaborators act and dismantled the tribunals for safely rehabilitate the war crime accused in Bangladesh.

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Sep 192012
 

Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee is facing charges of crimes against humanity in Bangladesh for his role during the country’s war of independence in 1971.

Dhaka, Sept 19 : A defence witness (DW) on Wednesday told the International Crimes Tribunal-1 in Bangladesh that the members of Peace Committee (collaborators) used to show the Pakistan occupation army the shops and houses of the minority Hindu community members prior to going for looting and arson attacks during the Liberation War.

During the cross-examinations, DW-3 Nurul Islam Hawlader corroborating the evidence of prosecution witnesses’ said Razakars in collaboration with Pakistan occupation army had carried out looting in shops at Parerhat Bazar once.

But they did not set fire to the looted shops owned by members of the Hindu community, he added. “I had been at Parerhat Bazar during the looting spree.”

He, however, told the three-member tribunal headed by Justice M Nizamul Huq that the perpetrators had torched the houses at Badura and Chitholia villages the following day.

According to the charges, Sayedee, a Razakar commander, who had also helped recruit Razakars, an auxiliary force of Pakistan Army, and invited army occupation by establishing makeshift camps in Pirojpur for committing crimes against humanity.

The charges include genocide, rape, arson, looting, forcibly converting Hindus to Muslims during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in collaboration with the Pakistani occupation forces.

Replying to a question, Nurul Huq told the tribunal that the Hindus converted into Muslim in fear of their lives as they came to know that their community members being made victims of killing.

The DW said during the Liberation War he did not cross the threshold of the makeshift army camp set up at Parerhat Rajlaxmi High School, a stone throw distance from his house.

“Both the army or Razakars did never disturb me and even go to my village home at Togra or Parerhat, the then abode.

Replying to a question, Nurul Huq informed the tribunal that he had gone through the reports published in vernacular dailies, including Jugantor and Janakantha, about the alleged 1971 misdeeds perpetrated in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army by Jamaat-e-Islami nayeb-e-ameer Delwar Hossain Sayedee.

Denying a volley of suggestions put forward by the prosecution lawyer dubbing his family as ‘Razakar family’ who had actively opposed the Liberation War, the defence witness said, ”It’s not true.”

“It’s also not true I’m involved in Jamaat–e-Islami and made evidence for Sayedee concealing the truth,” he said.

Asked whether his father was a member of Peace Committee (collaborator), the defence witness said, “I heard it for the first time.”

With the detained accused in the dock, prosecutor Syed Haider Ali cross-examined DW Nurul Huq.

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Sep 072012
 

Dhaka, Sept 7: Though the long-awaited trial of war criminals has got a momentum lately, experts are skeptical about its completion during the tenure of the present government, reports UNB.

They said it is still a long way to go to complete the trial of war criminals as many problems are still there in its way, but the government has only one year to complete its tenure.

Lack of adequate manpower in the International Trial Crimes Tribunals, failure to ensure the enough security of the prosecution witnesses and lack of steps to deal with the propaganda being carried out by Jamaat against the trial are among the problems that stood in the way of quick completion of the trial.

Journalist prosecution witness Shahriar Kabir, who has long been vocal for the trial, told UNB that if the trial process continues in this pace, it is highly unlikely that this will be completed within the tenure of the present government.

He criticised the government for its failure to ensure the proper security of the prosecution witnesses. “Many important witnesses have told me they would not go for making depositions any more if proper security is not arranged for them.”

Shahriar alleged that the Jamaat activists are intimidating the witnesses but the government is least bothered about it.

He was also critical of the government for not taking steps against the Jamaat propaganda against the trial. “In the beginning, the international community had interest in this trial, but now it’s losing its interest following the Jamaat propaganda…the government has taken no step to face it.”

About the State Minister for Law Quamrul Islam’s remark that the trial of a few war criminals to be completed with this year, Kabir said, “Is he the authority to say this? It’s not him; it is the Independent Tribunal which is trying the war criminals.”

Shahriar, also a liberation war researcher, said the government has no lack of sincerity to try the war criminals, but it has no clear idea about the challenge of the trial.

Eminent lawyer Dr M Zahir said, “Long way, but time is short. Only fortuneteller can say when the trial will be completed.”

He expressed doubt about the completion of the trial of the top war criminals during the present tenure if the trial moves on at the present pace.

Admitting that the trial is getting delayed, Awami League presidium member Advocate Yusuf Hossain Humayun alleged that the defense lawyers are wasting time for strategic reasons.

“The tribunal is not under control of the government as it is independent, but the prosecution is trying hard to complete it as soon as possible. Defense lawyers provided the lists 3,000-4,000 witnesses only to prolong the trial.”

Noted lawyer Dr Shahdeen Malik told UNB that the start of the trial depends on the government, but completion depends on the court.

Asked whether the trial will complete under the present regime, he said, “It matters little whether it completes under the present tenure of the government or not.”

State Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Quamrul Islam told UNB “Inshaallah, the trial of those who are now behind the bars will be completed within the tenure of the government.”

About the allegation of various loopholes, the state minister said it is nothing but creating unnecessary confusions.

“Those who are saying the trial will not complete within the tenure, they are, in fact, helping those who are trying to thwart it,” Quamrul observed.

The present Awami League-led government alliance government came to power in 2008 with a landslide victory in the last national election promising to try the war criminals.

The government constituted the International War Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-1 on March 25 2010 and the ICT-2 on March 22, 2012 in an effort to hold the much-delayed trial of the war criminals.

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Aug 232012
 

15 War crime accused include Ghulam Azam, Motiur Rahaman Nizami, Delwar Hossain Saydee, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, Abdul Quader Molla, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, and Maulana Abul Kalam

The field-level administration and magistrates are confused about the criminal cases filed in connection with offences committed during the Liberation War as the government recently decided in principle to transfer the cases to the International Crimes Tribunal.

No Gazette notification or official order was issued regarding the decision taken at a meeting of the home and law ministries on 20 July 2010.

The police headquarters only informally asked the police administration concerned to forward the cases to the tribunal or the home ministry.

“There has been a tribunal and an especial agency to investigate war crimes, hence our hesitation in doing anything about the cases,” a superintendent of police told daily sun.

The lower judiciary also became confused about its role regarding war crime cases after the tribunal was formed on 25 March for the trial of 1971 war crimes.

“I am hesitant to pass any order regarding the war crime cases since a tribunal has been formed to deal with these offences,” a judicial magistrate said on condition of anonymity.

On 22 July, senior Magistrate Taibul Hassan of Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s court directed the court police to send a case against nine persons, including top Jamaat-e-Islami leaders Motiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, to the tribunal.

He passed the order following a petition of investigation officer Mohammad Asaduzzaman, who said the case can now be tried under the tribunal.

However, the tribunal on 20 September said it received no case from any lower court and that the defence lawyers appealed for sending back records of the cases filed with Pallabi and Keraniganj police stations to the Dhaka CMM Court.

Counsels of the accused Jamaat leaders argued that the cases were transferred to the tribunal against the law.

The tribunal rejected the application, saying it had not received any documents related to the cases.

Dr AK Azad Firoz Tipu, an expert on criminal case in Bagerhat, said the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act 1973 should be amended if cases filed under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) have to be brought under the tribunal. “This can also be done through a government gadget notification,” said AK Azad, who is the plaintiff of a number of war crimes related cases.

Some 65 cases accusing 553 people, including Jamaat’s central Nayeb-e-Ameer Maulana Yusuf, are pending in Bagerhat where over 200 people were killed during the Liberation War. Some of the accused have meanwhile got bail from the High Court.

Police stations in Satkhira have so far recorded 24 cases. Of the accused in these cases, 87 received bail from the HC while six are in jail. All the cases are now stalled as the local administration is awaiting directives from the high-ups.

Additional Superinten-dent of Police in Jamalpur Jaydeb Chowdhury said, “We have sent a list of nine cases to the police head-quarters, which said the tribunal will instruct us about how to deal with them.”

Many complainants of the cases have meanwhile expressed frustration over the government’s inaction.

“We wanted justice but now we see there has been no progress,” Azizur Rahman, a complainant, told the daily sun in Jamalpur.

A total of 271 war crime cases have so far been filed countrywide since the Awami League-led govern-ment assumed office with a pledge to try the war criminals.

According to police report, there are two cases filed in the area under Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, and one case each under Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Khulna Metro-politan Police and Sylhet Metropolitan Police.

Of the cases, 269 were filed in rural areas: 126 in Khulna range of police, 58 in Rajshahi range, 41 in Dhaka range, 26 in Chittagong range and 18 in Barisal range.

Magistrate courts conc-erned ordered transferring some cases to the tribunal as the allegations go under its purview. However, most cases are still pending with the police stations conc-erned as they do not have any proper plan of handling those.

Two cases are pending with Parbatipur and Biral police stations in Dinajpur. “We did not send the cases to the tribunal as we are awaiting directives from the government high-ups. The tribunal also did not want the cases from us,” Dinajpur SP Siddique Tanjilur Rahman said.

Sirajganj SP Delwar Hossain Sayedee told our correspondent that his office was asked to send the cases to the tribunal.

“After receiving govern-ment directives we sent a letter to the tribunal for necessary instructions to this effect. But the tribunal office has not said anything yet.”

The accused got bail from the High Court in one case in Tangail while the HC issued a stay order in one case in Meherpur.

A total of 22 cases are pending with the police stations in Rajshahi. “We are not advancing with these cases as a tribunal has been formed,” a police officer told the daily sun.

Two cases have been forwarded from the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Shariatpur to the tribunal. One accused has been arrested in connection with one of them.

Magistrates ordered inquiry into six court petitions filed in Sunamganj, but the police forwarded those to the tribunal without recording any case.

In the absence of any instructions from the headquarters, the police are yet to appoint any investigation officer for the four cases filed in Kishoreganj, said district Public Prosecutor advocate Shah Azizul Huq.

By Pulack Ghatack; Courtesy: Daily Sun

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Aug 232012
 

Dhaka, 27 November 2010 : Fate of 271 war crimes related cases filed with police stations and magistrate courts across the country appears to be uncertain as the cases are being transferred to the International Crimes Tribunal, which cannot dispose of cases under CrPc.

The transfer decision made at a meeting of the home and law ministries on 20 July 2010 now leaves the fate of the cases uncertain as the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act 1973 does not permit registering of any case filed by any individual or group.

The tribunal is instead sending the cases to the agency formed by the government to probe crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War to see if they can be of help for the overall ongoing investigation, said an official at the ICT registrar’s office.

“These cases might be helpful for our investigation…We have so far received 42 cases,” war crimes investigator Abdur Razzak Khan told the daily sun.

Bringing the cases to the tribunal has also created confusion about the status of the arrested accused who already got bail or stay order on the case proceedings from the High Court because no court can issue any order in a case pending with the tribunal.

The victims and families of Liberation War martyrs filed the 271 cases in different parts of the country after the incumbent Awami League-led grand alliance assumed power with an electoral commitment to try the 1971 war criminals.

According to a report of the home ministry, a total of 269 war crimes cases, including court petitions, were filed countrywide in two years up to 30 September 2010. Two more cases were filed in Jhalakathi on Tuesday.

Most of the cases are related to murder, rape, arson and looting committed during the Liberation War and the cases were filed against over a thousand of collaborators of the Pakistan army with police stations and magistrate courts concerned under the CrPC.

But in the ICT act, no individual or group can file a case with the tribunal since the traditional processes of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Penal Code or the Evidence Act are not applicable under the special law.

Only the investigation agency can place its report on war crimes to the panel of prosecutors, who will place the report before the tribunal after examining it.

According to section 9 of the act, “The proceedings before a Tribunal shall commence upon the submission by the prosecutor of formal charges of crimes alleged to have been committed by each of the accused persons. The Tribunal shall thereafter fix a date for the trial of such accused person.”

Scores of accused have been arrested across the country while many others have got bail from the High Court. The HC has also issued stay order on the proceedings of some cases.

Although most of the cases are still pending with the police stations concerned because of unplanned handling, many cases are being transferred to the tribunal in a haphazard manner.

Some police stations are recording cases while some others places are not.

Courts are sending petitions to police stations and the latter are forwarding those directly to the home ministry without recording. The ministry is then forwarding those to the investigation agency, sources said.

The magistrate courts at different places ordered transferring of war crimes-related cases to the tribunal as the allegations go under the purview of the ICT.

The government formed the tribunal on 25 March to try the perpetrators of crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War.

After the inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Home Minister Sahara Khatun decided that the cases could be transferred to the ICT, State Minister for Law Quamrul Islam said, “Reviewing the cases the meeting found no legal bar to sending those to the tribunal for trial.

By Pulack Ghatack; Courtesy: Daily Sun

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Aug 232012
 

Pabna: 8 November 2010: Record books of investigators are being filled with statements and evidences collected from families of martyrs and victims of tortures by Pakistani soldiers and their local collaborators Rajakar, Al-Badr and Al-shams. The list of war criminals of Ishwardi is also getting longer as victims and families of martyrs are disclosing the names of Rajakar and Al Badr men, whose brutalities during the Liberation War in 1971 still haunt them.The investigation team yesterday visited different killing grounds, mass graves and torture sells at Ishwardi upazila of Pabna. They found concrete evidences of crimes against humanity committed by Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, Maolana Abdus Sobhan and Islami Oikkya Jote leader Moulana Ishaq. Rajakars Khoda Baks Khan, Maolana Ismail, Alam, Saiful, Siddique were also among heinous killers, victims and eye witness said.Villages like Shahpur, Varuimari, Bedundia, Baharpur, Ramchandrapur, Bhutergari and Patirajpur were almost razed to the ground and the incidents of arson, tortures and murders are still fresh in memories of many in the localities.Males were killed indiscriminately and women were raped and murdered, villagers said in the first chance in their lifetime to state what they saw in 1971.Shaukat Ali Paramanik narated how he had lost most of his family members in Bhuter Gari village. “I was a 9-year old boy at that time. They killed my father Dabir Uddin Paramanik. Fazlu, Gafur, Abdul Gafur Mal, and Jaminuddin – all from my family along with 26 people of our village,”  Shaukat said. “We could not even bury them. The bodies were dumped here,” he said pointing at the place which was a canal at that time.Moazzem Hossain and some other people took shelter at the Ishwardi central mosque. Many people were killed there, but only 18 of them could be identified. “My father, uncle, and cousin and cousin’s son were killed here. Their bodies were also dumped in the ditch. I could not get the opportunity to bury them. Returning back after the war, firstly I searched the mosque where huge people took shelter. But none could survive. I found some sharp weapons, used by the collaborators,”  Alhaj Tahurul Alam Mollah at Ishwardi town narrated. He said some people took shelter in the mosque assuming that the religious site might not be attacked.

But none of them could survive, as Biharies entered the mosque and dragged the insiders out to kill them beside a railway coal-depot and dumped the bodies in a nearby ditch. “My father was one of them,  my dear father, who was never involved in politics. What was his offence! I met him on April 11 and that was the last,” he said. These people were killed though they did not take up arms. They were merely peace loving people. I was a student of Dhaka University. I and two of my brothers joined guerrilla warfare, said Tahurul Alam. “Motiur Rahman Nizami used to come twice a week. He supervised the activities of collaborators and gave instructions. The genocide was committed according to his direction,” he said.The investigators visited another killing ground at Ishwardi where at least 50 people were killed. “Shahid Akher Uddin, my father, was killed here,” said freedom fighter Samsul Huq.  I was a student of Dhaka University at that time. I fought for Bangladesh, not my father,” he said responding to a query.He named rajakars Maulana Ismail, Mujahid, Quader, Kallol and many others, who were active in torture, killing and arson. Nizami, Abdus Sobhan, Maulana Ishaq were the top organizers of rajakars, he said. Ismail Maulvi is now Amir of Ishwardi Upazila unit of Jamaat-e-Islami. Killer Aroj Ali has changed his name as Taslim. He has become central publicity secretary of Jamaat,” he informed. A mass grave has a tombstone inscribed with names of martyrs Dr Rafique Uddin Ahmed, his three sons Zia, Roise, Saif and another person Aminul Huq.Dr Aminul did not flee thinking that he would not be killed as he had given healthcare service to all kinds of people. But Biharies did not spare him. He was killed along with his sons, locals said.Hamida Khatun is now 80. To investigators at Pakshi railway colony, she said she was still alive to see that killers of her husband Shahid Yaqub were hanged.

By Pulack Ghatack;  Courtesy: Daily Sun

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Aug 232012
 

Almost half the Hindu population that lived in some 20 villages of Sathia upazila of Pabna in 1971 have been missing since the time of the Liberation War. Investigators of the International Crimes Tribunal during their recent visit to the region came to know that many of these people were killed while others were forced into exodus by the Pakistan occupation army and their local collaborators.The Karamja killing ground in Sathia bears testimony to the one of the worst ethnic cleansing operations in human history.The evidence the investigation team has gathered might be produced as a concrete proof of genocide and crimes against humanity under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.As per the law, crimes against humanity means “murder, extermination, deportation, torture, rape or other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population or prosecutions on political, racial, ethnic or religious grounds”. Atrocities “to destroy (in whole or in part) a national ethnic, racial, religious or political group” have been described as genocide.Apart from those killed, many Hindu people of these villages, including Karamja, Rupasi, Bangram, Gangahati, Madhabpur, Ataikula, Kalagachh, Kashi­nathpur, Morichpuran, Krishnapur, Kalyanpur, Raghunathpur and Khudragopalpur, had to flee the country leaving all their assets, legacies and memories behind. Everything they had was looted, their houses were set ablaze.The male members of these families, who failed to flee in time, were killed, and the females were raped and tortured.“It was a horrendous experience. All the houses of Hindus were looted. They lost everything and were forced to leave,” said schoolteacher Abu Bakkar Siddique.“That was the house of Mogha Thakur,” said freedom fighter Aminul Huq, pointing towards an old house. “Mogha and his sons Diju and mentally challenged Karu were killed here,” Aminul said while talking to this correspondent standing near the Karamja killing field.“Shasti Charan Haldar, Shanti Charan Haldar, Adu Charan, Kartik Chandra, Suresh Chandra and Murali Charan Das were buried in this mass grave,” he said.“Many such mass graves are yet to be unearthed. Many dead bodies could not be buried and vultures, dogs and foxes feasted on them. Hundreds of people were killed in these villages,” he added.“Even Muslims, who favoured the freedom fighters, were also not spared,” he added.Former information minister Prof Abu Sayeed led the excavation of a mass grave in the area and found remains of nine people. But the evidence is now missing.Abu Sayeed told the Daily Sun that he had handed over the human skeletons to Sathia Police Station for preservation. But, those were destroyed after Motiur Rahman Nizami became a minister in 2001, he said.The International Crimes Tribunal’s investigation agency is now trying to find those remains unearthed from the place.Locals said Rafiqunnabi Bablu, a follower of Nizami, was the main killer in the area. He was a commander of al-Badr. His father Sirajuddin was the chairman of a “peace committee” in Sathia.Villagers said Bablu became ferocious in 1971 and was directly involved in all the heinous crimes like genocide, looting, arson, torture, rape and forcing particularly non-Muslims to leave the country.Bablu is now a millionaire and he has become a central leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, said some locals, adding that in Dhaka, he is known as AKM Rafiqunnabi.Rafiqunnabi is one of the main financers of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. Some sources said that most foreign funds for Jamaat are channelled through an NGO run by Jamaat men including Rafiqunnabi.He is the secretary of the Ibn Sina Trust, treasurer of the King Faisal Trust in Dhaka, and managing director and CEO of Crescent Holdings Ltd.He is also a member of the Dhaka University Senate, a few other sources said.Nizami and his men are still powerful in Sathia and the locals are scared of them.“What will happen to us in future? Will you come to save us?” said one when requested to narrate some atrocities Rafiqunnabi carried out during the Liberation War.According to sources, a few people who were supposed to give their accounts before the investigation team have fled the area fearing that they might be persecuted in future.Lutfor Rahman alias Lutfor Razakar, Amjad Hossain and three other close aides of Nizami were ready to confess everything about Nizami’s activities before the investigation team. They had even described some incidents before local journalists. But they went into hiding at the last hour.Admitting this, investi­gator Abdur Razzak Khan said, “We were told that some collaborators were ready to make confession. They backtracked perhaps under pressure.”
By Pulack Ghatack; Courtesy: Daily Sun, Dhaka

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Aug 232012
 

Dhaka: 25 October 2010: Experts have identified a serious inconsistency between the amended International Crimes (Tribunal) Act 1973 and the constitution, which might ruin the arrangements made so far for the trial of war criminals of 1971.The inconsistency arises out of a new provision inserted into the 2009 amendment to the act for trying “any individual” no matter whether the person was officially a member of the auxiliary forces of Pakistani occupation army or not.But according to the constitution, only members of any armed, defence and auxiliary forces or prisoners of war can be tried under the special law for committing genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.Experts say amending the constitution to validate the ICT act now would be tantamount to “fraud in legislature”.Some civil society groups, which have long been demanding the trial of war criminals, recently met with the law minister and the outgoing Law Commission chairman to convey their worries about the complexities and suggested necessary amendments to the law.Law Minister Shafique Ahmed, however, ruled out the possibility of any further amendment to the law to make it consistent with the first amendment to the constitution.Meanwhile, a number of counsels for suspected war criminals—mostly backed by Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami—are preparing to challenge the validity of the ICT act at the High Court, sources said.The ICT act was made under the first amendment to the constitution, which allows formation of special acts or provisions for detention or prosecution of “any person, who is a member of any armed or defence or auxiliary forces or who is a prisoner of war, for genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes”.The first amendment inserted article 47A into the constitution, stopping “the rights guaranteed under article 31, clauses (1) and (3) of article 35 and article 44” for the members of such armed and auxiliary forces or PoWs committing war crimes.But recently the ICT act was amended empowering the tribunal to try literally any individual or group of individuals, irrespective of their affiliation with any armed, defence or auxiliary forces.Apparently, the provision was inserted with a view to preventing some leading war crime suspects, including former Jamaat ameer Ghulam Azam and BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, from evading the trial.According to sources, Ghulam Azam was not a member and did not hold any post of any auxiliary forces such as Peace Committee, Razakar Bahini, al-Badr and al-Shams although the organisations were his brainchildren.Many others, including SQ Chowdhury, were also not officially collaborators of the Pakistani occupation forces, but they had allegedly organised or committed heinous crimes during the Liberation War in 1971.If the ICT act targets only the members of the armed or auxiliary forces of Pakistan army, these individuals might evade the trial.To mend this loophole, the law was amended in parliament in July 2009, incorporating the provision to try “any individual or group of individuals” for committing crimes against humanity.Former Appellate Division judge Golam Rabbani suggested inserting the words. Leaders of Ghatok Dalal Nirmul Committee also heavily supported it.While admitting to having made the suggestion, Justice Rabbani, however, said it was implemented “partially” and blamed the outgoing chairman of the Law Commission for the flaw.The constitution needed to be amended before amending the law, he told the Daily Sun.“[Former] Law Commission chairman Abdur Rashid considers himself to be a pundit, but he made many wrong suggestions. He caused many flaws [in the law] and now he himself has resigned,” Rabbani said.Abdur Rashid, however, denied the allegations, saying, “It [the ICT act] does not seem to be inconsistent with the constitution. The first amendment to the constitution hopefully covers the amendments to the act made in 2009.“We did not get enough time to examine the law. We had to place the report hurriedly and now we are drawing the flak,” he said.Rashid said, “Before making the recommendations we had invited Justice Rabbani and Shahriar Kabir along with a host of legal experts. Justice Rabbani was supposed to place his suggestions in writing to the Law Commission, but he did not.“The law was like bible to them [Rabbani, Shahriar Kabir]. They suggested not touching the law,” he added.“It would be malafied, fraudulent and unacceptable to any court if the constitution is amended now or it had been when we received the government requisition regarding the amendment to the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act,” Justice Rashid said.“So, we could not suggest amending the constitution. It cannot be changed purposefully to justify any provision of a law,” he added.Justice Rabbani also said further amendment to the constitution or the law in parliament may become even more dangerous as it may be tantamount to a fraud in the legislature.He, however, thinks that no one can challenge the law as an aggrieved person since the government has not yet implicated any individual who was not a member of the auxiliary forces of Pakistan army.Justice Rabbani said the political parties that backed the Pakistan army, including Jamaat-e-Islami, will also be treated as auxiliary forces, not just the Razakar Bahini or al-Badr.But the issue of treating Jamaat or any other political party as auxiliary forces of Pakistan army is still gray as according to the law, Razakar, al-Badr, al-Shams or any other armed group or groups “shall be deemed to have been placed under the control of the Armed Forces”.Rabbani said SQ Chowdhury and Ghulam Azam can be tried for crimes against humanity as there is enough evidence that they became members of these auxiliary forces. “Some witnesses in Chittagong have reportedly told the investigation agency that SQ Chowdhury was a member of the local Razakar Bahini,” he said citing media reports.Shahriar Kabir, convener of Antorjatik Aporadh Tribunal Sohayak Mancha (a group supporting the International Crimes Tribunal), told the Daily Sun that they have suggested that the government amend the law further.“We have identified the inconsistency. We called on the law minister to discuss it. We also submitted our suggestions to the Law Commission chairman. They are examining the law,” he said.“The government should remain cautious so that no legal complexity arises as a barrier to trying the war criminals,” he added.Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said, “The existing law is enough to try the war criminals maintaining international standard. We do not think it needs any further amendment.”Advocate Tajul Islam, a counsel for detained Jamaat leaders, said they are preparing to challenge the validity of the law as the provision of trying any individual is not covered by the first amendment to the constitution.

By Pulack Ghatack; Courtesy: Daily Sun, Dhaka

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Aug 222012
 

Dhaka, Aug. 22: Police on Wednesday arrested ATM Azharul Islam, acting secretary general of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, for his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War in 1971.

Police arrested him from his residence in the capital about an hour after the the International Crimes Tribunal ordered the arrest of the Islamist politician. The tribunal issued the warrant following a prosecution’s plea to arrest Azharul and ordered the police to produce him before it within 24 hours of arrest.

Charges of links with the crimes against humanity during the War of Independence in 1971 have been brought against the top leader of Jamaat, key ally of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Soon after the court’s order, members of different law enforcing agencies cordoned off his residence to arrest him.

Apart from Azharul Islam, ten leaders of Jamaat and BNP are now facing war crimes charges before the tribunals.

Bangladesh in January this year arrested Islamist leader Ghulam Azam, aged 89, on charges of masterminding war crimes during the 1971 liberation struggle. After his arrest, prosecutors said Azam, the former chief of Bangladesh Jamaat, is alleged to have created and led pro-Pakistan militias which carried out numerous murders and rapes during the nine-month war.

After returning to power in January 2009, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of Bangladesh’s independence hero Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, established the first tribunal in March 2010, almost forty years after the 1971 fight for independence from Pakistan to bring the war criminals to trial.

 Some three million pro-liberation people were killed by the occupation army and its auxiliary forces during the war. Jamaat and and some other Islamist parties collaborated with the Pakistani forces in 1971 to prevent the birth of independent Bangladesh. They orgainsed the infamous auxiliary forces like rajakar, Al-badr, Al-Sams and Peace Committees

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