Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bangladesh War Crimes Trial Reports

Monday, April 16, 2012

Front Page

War crimes probe targets 'butchers'

Charges to be pressed against Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, Ashrafuzzaman in 2 months

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, left, with the Prince of Wales at the Markfield Islamic Foundation, Leics on January 24, 2003. Photo: The TelegraphStaff Correspondent

Investigations into suspected war criminals Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan are in the final stages, investigation agency of the International Crimes Tribunal told The Daily Star yesterday.
“We have made substantial progress in the cases against them,” said Mohammad Abdul Hannan Khan, chief investigator of the agency. “It could take a couple more months to move the charges [to the tribunal].”
The two are, however, living in the UK and the US.
Mueen-Uddin, now a successful community activist and Muslim leader in Britain, was allegedly the “operation in charge” of the killings of intellectuals during the Liberation War.
He led the Dhaka unit of Al Badr, one of the forces created to help the Pakistani occupation army and oppose the pro-liberation forces during the war. Ashrafuzzaman Khan co-led the Al Badr unit, said chief investigator Hannan.
Once moved to the International Crimes Tribunal, the two could be officially charged for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War of 1971.
According to Hannan, Ashrafuzzaman was one of the masterminds behind the intellectual killings and he directly took part in the killings of many celebrities, scholars, journalists and other intellectuals during the war. A Bangla daily Purbadesh report titled “Nab the butcher of intellectuals” published on January 13, 1972, had a photograph of Ashrafuzzaman Khan.
Mueen-Uddin used to work for the Purbadesh during the war and Bangladesh Observer on its December 19, 1971, issue described him as the “operation in charge” of Al Badr, Dhaka. The New York Times in its January 3, 1972, issue also elaborated how the journalist was linked to the “murder of Bengalis”.
The Telegraph, a UK-based newspaper, yesterday ran a report on Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin titled “Leading British Muslim Leader faces war crimes charges in Bangladesh”.
“Mueen-Uddin, then a journalist on the Purbadesh newspaper in Dhaka was a member of a fundamentalist party Jamaat-e-Islami, which supported Pakistan in the war,” the report said.
“He is accused of being a part of a collaborationist Bangla militia, the Al-Badr brigade, which rounded up, tortured and killed prominent citizens to deprive the new state of its intellectual and cultural elite,” the report said.
His victims include Mufazzal Haider Chaudhury, a prominent scholar of Bengali literature, journalist Sirajuddin Hussain and Ghulam Mostafa, who was a colleague of Mueen-Uddin in Purbadesh newspaper, the report said.
Dolly Chaudhury, the widow of Mufazzal Haider Chaudhury, claims to have identified Mueen-Uddin as one of three men who abducted her husband on the night of December 14, 1971, the report added.
“I was able to identify one [of the abductors], Mueen-Uddin,” she said in a video testimony, reportedly seen by The Sunday Telegraph.
“He was wearing a scarf but my husband pulled it down as he was taken away. When he was a student, he often used to go to my brother in law's house. My husband, my sister-in-law, my brother-in-law, we all recognised that man.”
The widow of another victim also claims that Mueen-Uddin was in the group that abducted her husband, Sirajuddin Hussain, another journalist, from their home on the night of December 10, 1971, the report read.
“There was no doubt that he was the person involved in my husband's abduction and killing,” said Noorjahan Seraji.
A member the group was caught later on and he allegedly gave Mueen-Uddin's name in his confession.
Ghulam Mostafa, a colleague of Mueen-Uddin at Purbadesh, also had disappeared.
According to the report, “Mueen-Uddin's then editor at Purbadesh Atiqur Rahman” in his statement said Mueen-Uddin had been the first journalist in the country to reveal the existence of the Al-Badr brigade and had demonstrated intimate knowledge of its activities.
He said after his colleagues disappeared, Mueen-Uddin had asked for his home address. Fearing that he too would be abducted, the editor gave a fake address.
Atiqur's name, complete with the fake address, appeared on an Al-Badr death list found just after the end of the war, he said in the statement, The Telegraph reported.
“I gave that address only to Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, and when that list appeared it was obvious that he had given that address to Al Badr,” Atiqur said in statements given to the investigators.
“I'm sure I gave the address to no-one else.”
Atiqur Rahman then published a front-page story and picture about Mueen-Uddin, who had by that stage left Dhaka, naming him as involved in the disappearances.
Moving to the UK in the early 70's, Mueen-Uddin has taken British citizenship and built a successful career as a community activist and Muslim leader, the report said.
He was the vice-chairman of the controversial East London Mosque controlled by the IFE. In this capacity, he greeted Prince Charles when the heir to the British throne opened an extension to the mosque, it said, adding that Mueen-Uddin was also closely involved with the Muslim Council of Britain.
A former chairman of the charity organisation called Muslim Aid, Mueen-Uddin is now a trustee at the organisation, which has a budget of £20 million.
Mueen-Uddin, the director of Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the UK's National Health Service (NHS), “fiercely denies any involvement in a number of abductions and disappearances” during the Liberation War, the report said.
He has claimed the accusations were “politically-motivated” and false, added the report.
Toby Cadman, Mueen-Uddin's lawyer, has told The Telegraph that no formal allegations have been put to Mueen-Uddin and therefore it is not appropriate to issue any formal response.
“Any and all allegations that Mueen-Uddin committed or participated in any criminal conduct during the Liberation War of 1971 that have been put in the past will continue to be strongly denied in their entirety.”
He told the newspaper that for the chief investigator to be making such public comments raises serious questions as to the integrity of the investigation.
“Therefore, the comments by the chief investigator are highly improper and serve as a further basis for raising the question as to whether a fair trial may be guaranteed before the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh.”

Your Right To Know
Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mollah orchestrated killing of 57

First witness testifies at war tribunal

Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader MollahStar Online Report
Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah orchestrated the killing of at least 57 people in the capital's outskirts Keraniganj during the Liberation War, said Freedom Fighter Mozaffor Ahmed, first prosecution witness.
Mozaffor Ahmed gave this deposition to International Crimes Tribunal-2 saying that a team of Razakars, an anti-liberation force, led by Quader Mollah killed at least 57 people at Ghatar Char in Keraniganj on November 25, 1971.
Mozaffor also told the court that the collaborators also torched his residence on the same day.
The three-member tribunal headed by its Chairman Justice ATM Fazle Kabir recorded the deposition of the first witness after the proceeding began around 10:40am.
Earlier on May 28, the tribunal framed six specific charges against Quader Mollah for his alleged involvement in murders and mass killings during the Liberation War of 1971.
Reading out from the 96-page opening statement on June 20, Prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon said that as an organiser of Al Badr Bahani, an auxiliary force of Pakistan occupational army, Quader Mollah directly took part in killing, mass killing, arson and looting during the war.
The Jamaat leader was arrested in a criminal case on July 13, 2010, and later shown arrested in the case for crimes against humanity committed in 1971.

The Daily Star, Dhaka
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Azharul Islam arrested 

Police arrest Jamaat acting Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam at his Moghbazar residence Wednesday afternoon hours after ICT-1 issued an arrest warrant against him. Photo: Palash Khan
Acting Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami ATM Azharul Islam was arrested on Wednesday hours after an arrest warrant was issued against him for his alleged crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War.
Ramna police in association with Detective Branch of police and Rapid Action Battalion members arrested Azharul at his Moghbazar residence around 2:15pm, Syed Nurul Islam, deputy commissioner of Ramna Division, told The Daily Star.  Azhar has been taken to DB office on Minto Road on security ground, the DC said.
Police is yet to decide whether Azhar will be produced before the tribunal today or tomorrow (Thursday) as the court ordered to produce him before it in 24 hours after the arrest warrant was issued, the police official said. Before he was taken onto a prison van, Azhar said, "I have been arrested unjustly. Pray for me."  Earlier around 11:30am, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 ordered the arrest of the Jamaat leader and asked to produce him before the court in 24 hours.
In response to a petition filed by the prosecution, the three-member panel led by Justice Nizamul Huq passed the order.  Members of different law enforcing agencies including Detective Branch of police and Rapid Action Battalion cordoned off Azharul's residence since noon.
After getting the copy of arrest warrant, law enforcers raided his residence and arrested him, police said.

Your Right To Know
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Friday, July 27, 2012
Azad 'involved' in 10 types of crime
War crimes tribunal told; SQ Chy's father led looting, witness says
Staff Correspondent
The investigation agency of the international crimes tribunals yesterday said it had found “strong evidence” against suspect Abul Kalam Azad aka Bachchu Razakar in connection with ten kinds of crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War.
Meanwhile, a prosecution witness told International Crimes Tribunal-1 that war crimes accused BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury's father had led the looting of his house during the war. The investigation agency yesterday said the agency had completed its probe and it has evidence against Azad in connection with 10 incidents of genocide, killing, rape and other crimes during the 1971 war.
“He [Azad] was one of the brutal killers and rapists [during the war]. We have strong evidence [about his involvement],” Sanaul Huq, senior member of the investigation agency, yesterday told reporters at the Bailey Road office of the agency.  Expelled Jamaat-e-Islami member Azad went on the run around seven hours before International Crimes Tribunal-2 issued an arrest warrant against him on April 3.
“We have completed investigation into the allegations against Azad and will hand over our report [384 pages in all] to the prosecution on Sunday,” Mohammad Abdul Hannan Khan, coordinator of the investigation agency, told The Daily Star. Prosecutor of the case Sahidur Rahman told The Daily Star that after getting the investigation report, the prosecution would inform the tribunal about it and then they would prepare formal charges against Azad based on the report.
“In accordance with the law, the war crimes trial against Azad could start in his absence,” added Sahidur. Sanaul Huq told reporters that Azad had been involved in ten types of crime: genocide, killing, rape, abduction, confinement, torture, arson, looting, forced religious conversion and deportation of people in Faridpur during the nine-month-long war.  “We have evidence that he [Azad] directly killed at least 14 people during the war,” said Sanaul, adding that the agency had over 50 witnesses, some of them victims, to prove the allegations. The investigation against Azad started on April 10 last year and was completed yesterday [Thursday], he added.
The investigation agency claimed that Azad was at least involved in the rape of three women, abduction of nine people, detention of 10 people and torching of five houses and looting of 15 houses. He had also forcefully converted nine people of other religions to Islam and forced numerous people of Faridpur to leave the country during the war, said the sources. Sanaul said Azad, a resident of Barakhardia of Saltha upazila of Faridpur, started atrocities with his father-in-law Chand Gazi, who was also a Razakar, and was “personally involved” in repression on women.
“At first, he operated in Nagarkanda, Saltha and Boalmari but when he gained the trust of the Pakistan army, Faridpur town came under his operation,” added Sanaul. Quoting intelligence sources, Sanaul said, Azad might be in Pakistan now. He said as a member of the Islami Chhatra Sangha, the then student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Azad had “direct links” with Jamaat leader Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, another war crimes accused at the tribunal. Mojaheed was president of Faridpur district Chhatra Sangha during 1968-1970, as prosecution documents placed before the tribunal show.
Azad and Mojaheed were seen together in Faridpur stadium, which was the torture centre of the Pakistan army and their local collaborators during the war, said Sanaul.
Replying a question about Azad's running away, Sanaul said, “We have no right to arrest anyone and the court directed Dhaka Metropolitan Police to arrest him. But police could not arrest him.”
Investigation agency coordinator Hannan told reporters that with the court's authorisation the agency would take steps to seek the help of Interpol to nab Azad and bring him to justice.
Following a prosecution petition and after going through the progress report of the investigation, Tribunal-2 on April 3 issued the arrest warrant against Azad.
The trial of eight Jamaat and BNP leaders is ongoing at the two tribunals set up to deal with war crimes committed during the Liberation War.
Meanwhile, a prosecution witness yesterday told Tribunal-1 that he had fled to India during the Liberation War and upon return he was told that BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury's father Fazlul Quader Chowdhury had led the looting of his house.
A case was filed in this regard after independence but witness Parag Dhar, who was just seven during the war, could not name the accused of the case. Parag, the ninth prosecution witness against Salauddin, said different organisations had gone to their home to record their testimonies. In his 20-minute deposition before the court, Parag said during the war Razakars--an auxiliary force of the Pakistani army--looted homes in Jagatmallopara, Modhya Gohira, Sultanpur and Kundeshwari areas of Chittagong.
“We also heard that Al-Badr and the Razakars began mass killing in those places,” the witness said, adding that his family had to flee the country and go to Agartala of India. Parag said they returned to Bangladesh in December, 1971.
“After return, I found my father's Jeep and paddy processors stolen by Razakars and Al-Badr men. They also looted the furniture of our home,” he said, adding, “I heard that the loot took place under the leadership of Fazlul Quader Chowdhury.” When a prosecution lawyer asked the witness if Salauddin Quader or others had been involved in the lootings, the defence objected saying that the prosecution was leading the witness.
However, tribunal Chairman Justice Md Nizamul Huq then asked the witness himself whether he could mention who else were involved. “I could not say,” Parag replied.
Prosecutor Sultan Mahmud then asked the witness whether he could identify the accused Salauddin Quader. The tribunal then told the prosecution that it was not necessary as the witness had not said anything about Salauddin Quader. Defence counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena then completed cross-examining the witness with 12-13 questions. Ahsanul made a suggestion that the investigation officer had taught the witness what to say against Fazlul Quader Chowdhury.
“It's not true,” the witness said. The proceeding of the trial was adjourned until August 5. Salauddin Quader is facing 23 specific charges of crimes against humanity.
Meanwhile, Tribunal-2 yesterday completed recording of the cross-examination of Poet Quazi Rosy, the fourth prosecution witness in the war crimes case against Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah.
On July 24, Rosy in her testimony said Quader Mollah and his accomplices killed pro-liberation poet Meherun Nesa, her mother, and two brothers at their home in Mirpur during the Liberation War. During cross-examination yesterday, Ekramul Huqe, defence counsel for Quader Mollah, asked the 63-year-old witness, “Are you a supporter of Awami League?” Rosy said she did.
Ekramul then said the witness had given “false testimony” against Jamaat leader Quader Mollah “to suppress him politically”. “It is not true,” replied Rosy. “Did you mention the name of Quader Mollah in your book “Shaheed Kabi Meherun Nesa?” said Ekramul. Rosy said she did not mention anyone's name in her book as there was no scope for trial.
“As the trial has started, I have given my testimony against Abdul Quader Mollah and I was waiting for this day,” she said. The three-member tribunal, led by its Chairman Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, adjourned the case proceeding until Sunday when the fifth prosecution witness is expected to appear before the court.
Quader Mollah is facing six counts of crimes against humanity charges at the tribunal.
Your Right To Know
Monday, May 14, 2012
Anti-Bangladesh before & after '71
Ghulam Azam speaking at a Jamaat programme during Liberation War.Julfikar Ali Manik and Rizanuzzaman Laskar
Ghulam Azam's crusade to thwart the emergence of Bangladesh had continued even after the nine-month-long blood-spattered Liberation War in 1971, as he tried to revive East Pakistan and spread propaganda against Bangladesh for several years.
Just when Pakistan was on the verge of losing the war, Ghulam Azam went to Pakistan on November 22, 1971. He formed East Pakistan Retrieval Committee in Pakistan and campaigned until 1973 to build public opinion against Bangladesh and its recognition in the Islamic world.
While reading out the charges yesterday, Justice Md Nizamul Huq, chairman of the International Crimes Tribunal-1, gave a brief profile of accused Ghulam Azam.
He said Ghulam Azam went to London in 1973 and set up an office of East Pakistan Retrieval Committee there. He published a weekly, Shonar Bangla, in London, which was used as a propaganda tool against Bangladesh.
Bangladesh government cancelled his citizenship on April 18, 1973.
Ghulam Azam later visited Saudi Arabia in March, 1975. He met King Faisal and told him that Hindus have captured East Pakistan, the holy Quran has been burnt, mosques have been destroyed and converted into temples, and Muslims were killed.
He collected funds from the Middle East for rebuilding mosques and madrasas.
After the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Ghulam Azam returned to Bangladesh on August 11, 1978 with a Pakistani passport. He got back his citizenship and rejoined his post as the ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami. He served in the post until Motiur Rahman Nizami was elected ameer.
Ghulam Azam was born on November 7, 1922. He studied in a madrasa first and then obtained master's degree from Dhaka University in 1950. He was a teacher of Rangpur Carmichael College between 1950 and 1955.
He joined Jamaat-e-Islami in 1954 and served as its secretary from 1957 to 1960. He became the ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1969. During the Liberation War, Jamaat and Islami Chhatra Sangha under his leadership opposed the Liberation War.
He played a pivotal role in forming Shanti (peace) Committee, Razakar, Al Badr, Al Shams (collaborator forces). He was an elected member of the national assembly from Tangail in the sham elections of 1971, Justice Nizamul Huq said.
The Daily Star went through historic documents and is able to shed more light on Ghulam Azam's records.
According to records on the Liberation War, Ghulam Azam began playing an active role in helping the Pakistani occupation forces even as the nation joined the armed struggle to free Bangladesh soon after the launch of a massacre by the Pakistani military on the night of March 25, 1971.
He was ameer of the East Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami before the Liberation War. As the ameer, he campaigned across Bangladesh and even in Pakistan (then West Pakistan) in an attempt to foil the liberation movement.
"Pakistan is the house of Islam for the world's Muslims. Therefore, Jamaat activists don't justify staying alive if Pakistan disintegrates," said Ghulam Azam in a speech to mobilise his party men and followers against Bangladesh and help the occupation forces. (Source: Jamaat's mouthpiece the daily Sangram, 1971).
Ghulam Azam is one of the front men who actively helped the Pakistani forces' attempts to foil the birth of Bangladesh. He was hyperactive against the Liberation War and became a symbol of war crimes in Bangladesh.
He met Pakistani General Tikka Khan, who was known as the "Butcher of Baluchistan", 10 days after the war started and earned the same title "butcher" as an architect of the genocide launched on the night of March 25, 1971 in Dhaka.
During the nine-month-long bloody war, Ghulam Azam and his party Jamaat-e-Islami, its student wing Islami Chhatra Sangha (later renamed Islami Chhatra Shibir) played a key role along with their other political partners to foil Bangladesh's independence struggle.
According to newspapers, including the daily Sangram, and books and documents on 1971, Jamaat and its student wing played a key role in forming the Peace Committees and some other collaborator forces like Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams.
Throughout the nine-month war, Jamaat, its student wing and the collaborator forces actively helped the Pakistani military in mass killing, rape and atrocities.
The Pakistani forces and their Bangladeshi collaborators committed genocide and war crimes that left three million people dead and around a quarter million women violated, besides the planned elimination of some of the best of Bengali brains on December 14, 1971.
War records show that Jamaat formed Razakar and Al-Badr forces to counter the freedom fighters. Razakar force was established by former secretary general of Jamaat Moulana Abul Kalam Mohammad Yousuf, and Al Badr included the Islami Chhatra Sangha activists.
Anticipating defeat, the occupation forces and their collaborators--mostly leaders of Jamaat and its student front--picked up leading Bengali intellectuals and professionals on December 14 and killed them en masse with a view to intellectually crippling the emerging independent nation.
Though Ghulam Azam was the brain behind Jamaat's anti-liberation efforts, incumbent Jamaat Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami, president of Islami Chhatra Sangha in 1971, played a vital role in collaborating with the Pakistani junta in committing genocide.
Nizami, who is also behind bars on charges of war crimes, had said, "Every one of us should assume the role of a Muslim soldier of an Islamic state and through cooperation with the oppressed and by winning their confidence we must kill those who are hatching a conspiracy against Pakistan and Islam." (Daily Sangram quoted Nizami on September 15, 1971)
Ghulam Azam and his party men and anti-liberation elements used to call the freedom fighters "miscreants", "Indian agents", "malaun" (an offensive word used against the Hindus), and "infiltrators".
On April 8, 1971, Ghulam Azam issued a joint statement with other Jamaat leaders. A book containing an account of the killers and collaborators titled “Genocide '71” quotes from that statement: "India is interfering in the internal affairs of East Pakistan. Wherever patriotic Pakistanis see Indian agents or anti-Pakistan elements and infiltrators, they will destroy them."
Genocide '71 also reads: "On June 18, on arriving at Lahore airport, Ghulam Azam spoke to journalists, stating that, in order to further improve the conditions in East Pakistan, he was going to provide some additional advice to the president [General Yahya Khan].
"However, he refused to elaborate any further on what sort of advice he was going to give. Regarding the situation in East Pakistan, he said: 'The miscreants are still engaged in destructive activities. Their main aim is to create terror and turbulence. These miscreants are being directed by Naxalites and left-wing forces.'"
On June 19, before Tikka Khan left for Dhaka, Ghulam Azam met then Pakistan president Yahya Khan. After his meeting with Yahya, he addressed a press conference in Lahore. He told journalists, "The miscreants are still active in East Pakistan. People must be provided with arms to destroy them."
Addressing Jamaat workers prior to the press conference, Ghulam Azam said, "In order to prevent the disintegration of Pakistan, the armed forces had to be deployed." He further noted, "The recent tumult in East Pakistan is 10 times greater than the 1857 Revolution in Bengal." Speaking at a press conference in Peshawar on August 26, he said, "The armed forces have saved us from the treachery of our enemies and from the evil designs of India. The people of East Pakistan are lending full support to the armed forces in destroying miscreants and infiltrators."
On November 23, Yahya Khan declared a state of national emergency.
Ghulam Azam welcomed this announcement. He told the press in Lahore, "The best way to defend ourselves is striking at our enemies." He said in order to restore peace in East Pakistan, each patriotic citizen, each member of the Peace Committees, Razakar, Al-Badr, and Al-Shams must be armed with modern automatic weapons.
At a meeting in Rawalpindi on November 29, he said, "There is no example in the history of a nation at war surviving without retaliation. Aggression is the best form of defence."
On December 3, he in Karachi said, "An East Pakistani should be in charge of the foreign office because it is only an East Pakistani who can cope with the Bangladesh tamasha [the Bangladesh farce]."
Immediately after victory on December 16, 1971, Ghulam Azam and many others like him fled to Pakistan and returned only after the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members in 1975.
After victory the first issues of newspapers of the new nation carried the government's decision to ban five communal parties, including Jamaat-e-Islami, on December 18 with immediate effect. The banned parties were given the green light to resume politics during the regime of late president Ziaur Rahman.
Genocide '71 said soon after Ghulam Azam with a few of his followers went to Saudi Arabia, an advertisement, in the name of a fake organisation, appeared in several Middle Eastern papers. The ad proclaimed, "mosques are being burnt in East Pakistan, Hindus are killing Muslims and destroying their properties." On the plea that Islam had to be saved, the ad appealed for contributions.
It also said Ghulam Azam, in order to collect funds and to continue his campaign against Bangladesh, visited several countries of the region, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Beirut. After completing his tour of these areas, he left for London in April, 1973.
Even though he came to Dhaka on a three-month visa during the rule of president Ziaur Rahman in 1978, he never left Bangladesh. He became Jamaat's undeclared ameer taking over from alleged war criminal late Abbas Ali Khan who was the acting ameer.
In the early 90's, Ghulam Azam was officially declared ameer of Jamaat, while Shaheed Janani Jahanara Imam launched a unique mass movement demanding trial of war criminals. She held an unprecedented People's Court as a symbolic trial of Ghulam Azam where thousands of people gathered and the court pronounced a verdict to the effect that offences committed by him during the Liberation War deserve capital punishment.
Ghulam Azam's citizenship issue came into focus when he came to Bangladesh as a Pakistani national.
In 1991, the BNP formed government with support from Jamaat and in 1992 Ghulam Azam filed a case with the High Court to get Bangladeshi citizenship. The government of the day arrested him and put him in jail. However, after Ghulam Azam acquired Bangladeshi citizenship through a court order in 1994, the government released him from prison.
In 1998, BNP and Jamaat formed the four-party alliance and Ghulam Azam appeared at a grand public meeting with BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
Ghulam Azam left the party's top post in 2000 and was succeeded by Nizami.
Ghulam Azam stayed out of focus since then but he is back into the spotlight after yesterday's court order.
Your Right To Know
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Kamaruzzaman killed one in Al Badr camp: PW
Victim also forced to become Muslim before his death
Jamaat-e-Islami leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman Star Online Report
A prosecution witness told the ICT-2 on Wednesday that Jamaat-e-Islami leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman had gunned down one Mahir Uddin in an Al Bader camp in front of his eyes during Liberation War.
Monwar Hossain Khan alias Mohan Munshi, the second prosecution witness against war crimes suspect Jamaat leader, was employed as a watchman in the camp during the country's Liberation War in 1971.
During Liberation War, a group of 20 to 25 Rajakar made captive Shushil, a hindu, from a hindu-slum between Nurundi and Pearpur areas of Mymensingh and kept him in the Al Badr camp of Nyani bazar.
The detained Jamaat assistant secretary general after having a discussion with Pakistani major Riaz, forcefully converted Shushil to Islam and renamed him as Mahir Uddin, the witness told the three-member International Crimes Tribunal led by Justice ATM Fazle Kabir.
Later, Shushil alias Mahir Uddin was shifted to another Al Badr camp which was established at the abandoned home of one Surendra Mohan Saha where the witness was deployed as a watchman, he added.
In this camp Kamaruzzaman killed Shushil alias Mahir Uddin before the eyes of the witness by the gun of another Al Badr member.
Kamaruzzaman was present during the deposition.
The cross examination of the witness was going on since around 2:00pm
আড়াই কোটি ডলারে লবিস্ট নিয়োগ কাসেম আলীর!
ICT allows day-long quizzing of Quasem Ali
Dhaka, Jul 8 ( — The first war crimes tribunal of Bangladesh on Sunday allowed a day's interrogation of Jamaat-e-Islami policymaker Mir Quasem Ali, said to be among the main financiers of the party.

Set up to try crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War, the three-judge International Crimes Tribunal – 1 had ordered Quasem Ali's arrest on Jun 17 upon an application of the prosecution.

The first prosecution witness, Mozaffar Ahmed Khan, against Jamaat assistant secretary general Abdul Quader Molla, was cross-examined on Sunday. Defence counsel Mohammad Ekramul Huq is expected to get through his questioning within the first-half of Monday.

Head of a media company that runs a daily newspaper and a television station, Mir Quasem Ali is also the founder of Ibn Sina Trust which runs a number of institutions including a hospital.

In response to an application for three days' interrogation, tribunal Chairman Justice Mohammad Nizamul Huq allowed one day at a safe home, where a counsel and a doctor would also be present, but in a separate room.

Quasem Ali is accused of leading crimes such as torture and murder during the Liberation War in 1971 in Chittagong as the local head of the vigilante militia Al Badr, which is largely said to be responsible for numerous atrocities on civilians along with the other such militias like the Razakar and Al Shams.

Quasem Ali, according to the prosecution, went on to feature as the number three of the national Al Badr command structure during the Independence War.

The Jamaat leader is alleged to have forcibly taken over the Mahamaya Bhaban, renaming it as Dalim Hotel, where the vigilante militia confined and tortured people suspected of being sympathetic to the liberation forces.

The Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing, which was then called Chhatra Sangha, is widely alleged to have mobilised the vigilante groups that actively collaborated with Pakistanis to thwart the liberation efforts.

The tribunal ordered that the prosecution should notify the defence at least two days ahead of their desired date of interrogation. The order also directed the prosecution to submit a progress of the investigation against Quasem Ali by Aug 12, or submit the formal charge against him.

Defence counsel Tajul Islam had opposed the prosecution's application for interrogation saying that the prosecutors could not show any appropriate reason that warranted interrogation.

Time Limit

The leading counsel for the Jamaat leaders facing war crimes charges, Abdur Razzaq, kicked off the day's proceedings with a plea that the tribunal recall its unsigned order setting time limits on witness testimony and cross examination.

Noting that the counsel had travelled to many other places and was familiar with the provisions of other such tribunals, Justice Huq told Razzaq, "This law is available everywhere and this process applied."

Razzaq cited other cases from Sierra Leone and former Yugoslavia that took up to three or four years to complete. He said that there was no reason, however, to believe that there was an unreasonable delay as far as Ghulam Azam's case was concerned. "It has only begun."

Justice Huq said, "The order is not regarding that case. It will apply to both the parties and all the cases."

Razzaq continued with his reservations about the order the tribunal had passed on Thursday, saying that if international standards were indeed the norm then the court would not be concerned with public opinion.

"I believe you have not been briefed about the matter appropriately. You will see what we said when you get the order," said Justice Huq. He continued to reassure the senior defence lawyer that there would not be any prejudice to the defence. "We shall look after the matter."

Razzaq again pointed out that if the counsels ever tried to waste the court's time then the tribunal would stop them.

Justice Huq explained that from now on, the tribunal would set the time for cross-examination and examination of witnesses.

"But sometimes there are difficult witnesses and the same question has to be repeated twice," said Razzaq.

"It is not that we will sit here with our ears sealed and eyes shut. In such cases you will certainly be given due consideration," said Justice Huq.

This, however, failed to reassure the defence counsel who still pleaded that the court recall its order.

Justice Huq ended the matter with a simple, "Sorry."

The court then moved on to the cross-examination of Sayedee's war crimes investigator ASP Mohammad Helal Uddin. The tribunal chief was quick to remind senior defence counsel Mizanul Islam that the investigator had been stuck with the cross-examination for a long and it should be wrapped up soon.

"I am not setting a time limit yet, but do take a mental preparation to get through it quickly."

The counsel replied that he was not wasting the tribunal's time, neither was he asking irrelevant questions.

The cross-examination has been adjourned till Thursday till which time the stenographer would be on leave.

The Daily Star, Dhaka, August 27, 2012
Jamaat's Top Two In The Dock
Nizami led Al-Badr to fight 'Indian agents'
Testifies an ex-member of Jamaat's former student wing
                                            Misbahur Rahman
Mahbubur Rahman Khan
Prosecution witnesses yesterday started testifying in war crimes cases against Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami and Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed in two international crimes tribunals. Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury, once a member of Jamaat's former student wing, gave deposition against Nizami at Tribunal-1, and war crimes researcher Shahriar Kabir testified against Mojaheed at Tribunal-2. Defence counsels began cross-examining Misbahur yesterday, while Tribunal-2 set August 30 for cross-examination of Shahriar Kabir.
Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami led the Al-Badr force during the Liberation War, said the first prosecution witness in the war crimes case against Nizami at International Crimes Tribunal-1 yesterday.
Through abolishing the Islami Chhatra Sangha, the then student wing of Jamaat, the Al-Badr, an auxiliary force of the Pakistan occupation army, was formed, said Bangladesh Islami Oikya Jote Chairman Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury.
Witness Misbahur, who was president of Moulvibazar's Pakistani Shahin Fouz, a wing of Islami Chhatra Sangha, was asked to join the Al-Badr.
Instead, he flew to London in August 1971.
The then president of Moulvibazar Islami Chhatra Sangha Sirajul Islam Motlib sent a letter to Misbahur's home asking him to join the Al-Badr.
Misbahur said, “the Islami Chhatra Sangha had taken a decision that within August 10, 1971, all its activists would have to join the Al-Badr.
All the activists were directed to collect appointment letters from Pakistani officer Maj Fakhrul Islam, who was in command in Moulvibazar.
“He [Sirajul Islam] also mentioned that if I joined the Al-Badr, Nizami Bhai [Motiur Rahman Nizami] would be personally happy and it was a duty for the soldiers of Allah to stand against the Indian agents,” the witness said.
“People who refused to join the Al-Badr would not be considered as activists of the Islami Chhatra Sangha,” he said.
He said he showed the letter to his father Abdur Rahman Chowdhury, who was involved in the Muslim League. His father got angry seeing it and sent him to London.
“It was also very dangerous stepping out of the Islami Chhatra Sangha at that time. That was another good reason for sending me to London,” he added.
Prosecutor of the case Mir Iqbal Hossain then showed Misbahur a photocopy of the letter. Misbahur confirmed the letter and signature on it as being of Sirajul Islam's.
Misbahur said he held a press conference regarding the activities of the Jamaat on February 16, 2008.
There he had shown the original letter but the original was later lost.
The Al-Badr, which was a regimental organisation, had superior power on other auxiliary forces--Razakar and Al-Shams. “The activists of Al-Badr were given arms training by the Pakistani army,” he said.
Defence counsel Tajul Islam was locked in a debate with the witness and later with the tribunal chairman over the witness' changing the word “power” with the words “more powerful than other auxiliary forces” in his deposition.
Tajul told Misbahur that he was testifying as if it was a political speech.
Misbahur reacted and said he was getting texts and calls on his mobile phone for not giving deposition.
Tribunal-1 Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq then asked Tajul to sit down but Tajul did not comply.
At one stage, Justice Nizamul described Tajul as “becoming disturbing” for the trial proceedings.
“You cannot tell me that I'm disturbing,” said Tajul.
The courtroom became calm again with the intervention of tribunal Judge AKM Zaheer Ahmed.
At one stage of his testimony, Misbahur said he had gone to meet Saudi King Faisal in 1974.
He met the Jamaat's former chief and war crimes accused Ghulam Azam to seek financial help from King Faisal.
“He [Ghulam Azam] told the king that freedom fighters had demolished most of the mosques and madrasas in the country. Religious education was about to end. There was no Quran found in the country for recitation. About 40,000 people who took part in the Islamic movement were killed,” Misbahur quoted Ghulam Azam as saying.
Ghulam Azam sought financial aid for the family members of the 40,000 people and reestablishment of mosques and madrasas.
Misbahur claimed that he had strongly protested Ghulam Azam's plea before the king.
He also apprised Moulana Abdur Rashid Tarkabagish, who was leading a team of the Bangladesh government, of the matter. He asked him to take necessary steps against Ghulam Azam.
During his two-hour-long deposition, Misbahur alleged that Barrister Abdur Razzak, chief defence counsel for Jamaat leaders detained in connection with war crimes, was an Al-Badr man.
After the Liberation War, Abdur Razzak invited Misbahur to join an Islamic meeting in London.
At that meeting Misbahur learnt that Razzak had been an active member of Al-Badr and aided the Pakistani military until December, 1971.
After the liberation of Bangladesh, Razzak went to London through India, Nepal and Pakistan on a Pakistani passport, Misbahur said.
Terming the allegations false and deliberate, Razzak later in a statement claimed that not a single citizen of Bangladesh has ever made such allegations against him.
He also said the sole purpose of Misbahur's statement before the tribunal was to malign him as the chief defence counsel with the intention of preventing him from performing his professional duties.
Your Right To Know
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Mojaheed led Al Badr in killing intellectuals: Shahriar Kabir
PW also identifies Nizami as chief of Al-Badr
Eminent writer Shahriar Kabir comes out of International Crimes Tribunal-2 after giving his testimony on Sunday. Photo: Palash Khan
Star Online Report Al Badr led by Jamaat leader Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed had killed hundreds of intellectuals, journalists, teachers and other professionals between November 15 and December 15 in 1971.
Writer and journalist Shahriar Kabir told this to the International Crimes Tribunal-2 on Sunday while giving deposition against detained Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed.
Meanwhile, Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury, a member of the then Bangladesh Islami Oikya Jote (BIOJ) of Moulvibazar unit, gave his testimony before the tribunal as the first prosecution witness against Jamaat Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami.
Misbahur identified Nizami as the chief of Al-Badr formed to collaborate with the Pakistani military during the 1971 Liberation War.
A leading researcher on war crimes Shahriar Kabir, also the first prosecution witness against the Mojaheed, gave his deposition from 10:51am to 1:30pm in presence of war crimes suspect Mojaheed.
Al Badr was formed with the leaders of Jamaat's student wing Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS), he said.
Mojaheed, 64, was indicted with seven charges, including murder, torture, and imprisonment of people, genocide, and hatching a conspiracy to kill intellectuals during the Liberation War.
The writer said Mojaheed and Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami were the leaders of Al Badr during the Liberation War in 1971 and they were involved in the killing of intellectuals in a planned way.
Defence counsel will cross-examine Shahriar on August 30.
He was arrested on July 29 in 2010.
The tribunal-1 had rejected Mojaheed's bail petition twice and after his case was transferred to the tribunal-2, it rejected his bail prayer on August 7.
Mojaheed is among the 10 BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami leaders facing war crimes charges before the tribunals.
Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury told the tribunal that Sirajul Islam, the then president of BIOJ, had sent him a letter requesting him to join AL Badr during the Liberation War.
The letter reads, “If you join Al Badr, Motiur Rahman Nizami would be happy.”
Sirajul Islam also mentioned in his letter that every members of the BIOJ would also join Al Badr, Misbahur said in his statements.
On May 28, the tribunal framed 16 charges against Nizami for his alleged involvement in murders and torture of unarmed people in 1971.
The 69-year-old Jamaat leader was the president of Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS), student wing of Jamaat in 1971.
Members of the ICS were used to form the AL Badr -- an auxiliary force formed to collaborate with the Pakistani military that committed genocide and mass killing during the nine-month-long war.

Up to 70 Hindus killed in one day

7th prosecution witness testifies against SQ Chy

Staff Correspondent

A witness to the genocide committed during the Liberation War in his description of wartime brutality yesterday said he had seen bodies of two pregnant women with their half-born babies.

Abbas Uddin Ahmed, seventh prosecution witness in a case against BNP lawmaker and war crimes accused Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, told the International Crimes Tribunal-1 how brutally the Pakistani occupation force unleashed terror on the Hindus of Unsotturpara village in 1971.

About 60-70 Hindus of Unsotturpara in Rauzan in Chittagong were killed in a raid by Pakistani army on April 14, 1971, Abbas said, adding, he lost his friend in that attack.

The witness said he had heard from locals that such killings were also committed in Kundeshwari and Jagot Mollo Para and Salahuddin Quader was involved, but he did not see the BNP leader at that time.

Abbas, 62, chairman of East Gujra Union Parishad of Rauzan, used to live with his family at Unsotturpara village during the War. The majority of people of that village were Hindus in 1971.

Residents of Unsotturpara irrespective of age and race took part in the Liberation War, Abbas said, adding, he used to supply kedgeree for the freedom fighters in Chittagong.

Locals had set up a check post putting barricade on the road for checking vehicles in Unsotturpara, he added.

Abbas said the erstwhile Muslim League's chief Fazlul Quader Chowdhury became furious over the check post while crossing the village in a Volkswagen car as he and his three sons including Salahuddin Quader and Giasuddin Quader had to get down.

"In the evening that day [April 11, 1971], Punjabis patrolled the engineering college area. That's why many people left the place in fear," said Abbas.

The next day, the then chairman of Pahartali union Mofdul Hossain asked Niranjan Dutta Gupta, who had good family relations with Abbas, to call back the Hindus, the witness continued. Assured of no harm, Niranjan had called back the Hindus, Abbas added.

"On April 13, 1971 at about 4:00pm, Mofdul, Piaru and Burma Yousuf asked the villagers to gather at Hitoishi Mohajon's house. "Our leader will talk with you," Abbas quoted one of the three as saying. They however did not mention the name of the leader, he added.

"My friend Babul Mali rushed to my house. He told me that Punjabis came and asked them to gather at Hitoishi Mohajon's house. All Hindus of the village were going there," said the witness.

Abbas and Babul went to Unsotturpara School and saw Pakistani army going from north to south in a couple of cars. There were two civilians in the cars, but the witness could not identify them. Abbas and Babul then decided to move to their respective houses. "As I moved 200 yards further, I heard a loud bang. I looked back and saw Babul falling on the ground. A few moments later I heard the sound of rapid fire from the south," he said.

The next day Abbas learned that Niranjan had committed suicide as he could not bear the remorse that the Hindus, who were killed the previous day, had returned home at his request.

On April 15, Abbas along with some of his friends went to Unsotturpara. Abbas said, "At first I saw the body of my friend Babul and his father in a stream. I went to the house of Hitoishi Mohajan where I saw 60-70 bodies." He said he buried the bodies with the help of some locals in a burrow.

As his deposition was made, the tribunal asked the defence to cross-examine the witness. Defence counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena completed his cross-examination by asking two questions.

Ahsanul Huq asked him if it was true that Fazlul Quader and his sons did not go to Unsotturpara.

That is not true, replied Abbas. "Is it not true that you did not hear people saying that Salahuddin Quader was involved in the killing?" asked Ahsanul. Abbas again said that it is not true. Salahuddin Quader, who is facing 23 specific charges of crimes against humanity during the Liberation War, was present at the tribunal.

The proceeding of the case was adjourned until July 23. Earlier, the prosecution read out the opening statement in another war crimes case against Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami at the
tribunal.  Prosecutors Golam Arif Tipu and Altaf Uddin Ahmed read out the statement. In the statement, Altaf said Nizami who was chief of Al-Badr, incited people to join the anti-liberation force by holding rallies during the War.

Following completion of the opening statement, the tribunal fixed July 22 for recording deposition of witnesses against Nizami. The Jamaat leader was also present at the dock of the tribunal.

On May 28, the tribunal framed 16 charges against Nizami for his alleged war crimes.


Your Right To Know
Monday, May 28, 2012
Monday, May 28, 2012
War Crimes Trial

15-16 Hindus murdered

Third witness testifies against SQ Chy
Staff Correspondent
The third prosecution witness against Salauddin Quader Chowdhury told International Crimes Tribunal-1 that he had heard from a freedom fighter that Salauddin and his men killed 15-16 Hindus at Unosatturpara of Chittagong during the Liberation War.
Witness Sirajul Islam said one Captain Karim on May 21, 1971, told him how the murders were committed. Karim was trying to recruit Sirajul as a freedom fighter. He claimed that the captain was hiding in a bush near a marsh along the road to Kaptai when he witnessed the murders.
He also told the court that a freedom fighter, who has now passed away, had told him that he had seen Salauddin kill Nutan Chandra Singh of Kundeshwari Oushadhalaya in Chittagong.
Testifying against the lawmaker from Chittagong, the prosecution witness also claimed that Salauddin and his associates had abducted an Awami League leader and his son from Hathazari of Chittagong in April 1971.
Sheikh Mozaffar Ahmed and his son Sheikh Alamgir were picked up from Tin Rastar Mor of Hathazari and were later killed. Their bodies were never found, the witness claimed.
The 64-year-old witness began giving his testimony on Thursday in the case against Salauddin, who is facing 23 counts of crimes against humanity charges at the tribunal. Tribunal-1, headed by Justice Md Nizamul Huq, yesterday finished recording the 220-minute deposition of Sirajul Islam alias Shiru Bangalee. The defence began the cross-examination yesterday but the proceedings were adjourned after just one question.
In his testimony, Sirajul said on April 13, 1971, Salauddin along with Pakistani army personnel led a killing mission in the predominantly Hindu areas of Gahira, Sultanpur and Jagotmandal in Chittagong.
The Pakistan army and its collaborators shot and killed people of different religions indiscriminately and looted their homes, he said.
He said Salauddin's father Fazlul Quader Chowdhury had lost the 1970 general election to a young Awami Leaguer by a considerable margin. Fazlul's family was unhappy and they thought that the Hindu community's votes had cost Fazlul the election.
Salauddin and Fazlul led mass killings, looting and repression on women and forced them to leave the country to assert their dominance in the area, said Sirajul, who learnt this from Capt Karim.
Sirajul told the tribunal that in Khagrachhari he had met Bibhuti Bhushan, who was a freedom fighter from Raozan of Chittagong. Bibhuti has passed away.
Sirajul said Bibhuti told him that he had climbed up a tree in Raozan, while he was going to Hathazari from Rangamati, as he had seen a convoy of Pakistani troops approaching. The convoy was moving toward Kundeshwari Oushadhalaya, a herbal medicine store.
The Pakistani soldiers dragged the owner of the store, Nutan Chandra Singh, out and interrogated him, said Sirajul, quoting Bibhuti. After the interrogation, the army left, he said.
“As Salauddin Quader found his plan unsuccessful, he returned to the store a few moments later with two or three soldiers,” said the witness quoting Bibhuti.
“Shoot him,” was the order from Salauddin Quader, who also shot a few bullets into Nutan for good measure, Sirajul said.
Bibhuti witnessed the whole incident from the tree branch he was sitting on.
Sirajul said he along with other freedom fighters had begun capturing collaborators from October 27, 1971. They caught a close aide to Fazlul, Haji Abdus Sattar alias Sattar Haji, during the Liberation War.
“On interrogation, I came to know that Salauddin saheb was injured by a bullet on September 20 during a guerrilla attack but managed to escape alive while his driver was killed,” he said, adding, “Sattar showed me the September 21, 1971, issue of the daily Azadi as I had refused to believe his statement.”
Sirajul said the Al Badr force, led by Mir Kashem Ali, used Hotel Dalim in Chittagong as a torture cell.
Sirajul said he had sworn to a martyred freedom fighter that he would kill Kashem Ali but could not keep his promise as Kashem went into hiding after November 15, 1971.
The Al Badr, formed to collaborate with the Pakistani army, actively opposed the country's independence.
Salauddin's defence will resume cross-examining the witness today.
Meanwhile, Fakhrul Islam, a defence counsel of Salauddin, yesterday responded to the show cause notice the tribunal had served on him earlier.
The notice was issued on May 15 against him in connection with calling prosecution witness Prof Anisuzzaman a liar before the media.
According to the document submitted before the court yesterday, Fakhrul apologised unconditionally and sought mercy.
Tribunal-1 fixed Thursday for hearing on his application.
The tribunal also recorded the cross-examination of the investigation officer in the case against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee for the 12th day yesterday. The cross-examination will continue today.
The Jamaat leader is facing 20 counts of crimes against humanity at the tribunal.


S Q Chy stood with Pak shooters: witness
Mon, Jul 9th, 2012 2:25 pm BdST
Dhaka, Jul 9 ( — A witness put BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury on Monday at the scene of an execution on the morning of Apr 13 in 1971, which he miraculously survived but lost five of his family.

A lawyer of the Chittagong district court, Nirmal Chandra Sharma, told the first war crimes tribunal how his family had been lined up outside their village home in Rauzan and shot by Pakistani soldiers. The six-time BNP MP was with them at the time, he said.

Set up to deal crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War, the three-judge International Crimes Tribunal-1 indicted Salauddin Quader on 23 charges of war crimes on Apr 4.

The witness broke down several times as he remembered his mother, nephew and uncle lying dead at the scene. The 67-year-old lawyer's another uncle had also been injured in the head and only managed to moan out as the Pakistani soldiers had left. He died several days later.

The father of the witness lay sprawled out on his face on the ground with his left hand riddled with bullets. His thighs were also badly injured. Nirmal's father became crippled and went on to live another five years or so after liberation.

Nirmal said he had feigned to fall just before the Pakistani soldiers opened fire on his family at their courtyard and thus survived the execution. He got up and fled the scene along with another brother who was not at home during the shooting.

Pakistani soldiers had come to their doorstep and called them out promising that no one would be hurt. In his minute-by-minute description of the scene, Nirmal said that Salauddin Quader had come with the Pakistani execution squad.

Later that evening the witness managed to flee his home in Rauzan, where Salauddin Quader is alleged to have committed a number of crimes in 1971. Nirmal Chandra eventually reached India's Agartala and turned into a freedom fighter joining liberation forces in Sector 1.

The sixth prosecution witness's deposition was completed about half an hour before the scheduled lunch recess.

The Context

Nirmal's story began from Apr 12 of 1971. The Pakistani Army had gone past the weak resistance that people had apparently set up to prevent their advance in Hathazari in Chittagong. "This made us very nervous and we started wondering about where to go or what to do."

Early next morning, they had decided to leave the village under Moddho Gohira and go elsewhere. "But before that mother said we should all eat up since there was no telling what was to come."

All agreed and the Sharmas began preparing for an early meal and then leave.

Soon there was an announcement on the loudspeaker of a nearby mosque saying that the people should not leave their houses: "Nothing would happen to the people. A peace committee has been formed," the announcement said.

"This announcement from the mosque reassured us greatly."

Even an uncle of the witness, Nirmal Chandra's elder brother, and others of his family who had already left the village looking for a safer place returned after the assurance.

The announcement had also warned that in case people left, their houses would be looted.

"On being sufficiently reassured, we did not hurry about our meal. But we went about it in a relaxed manner thinking that things would not be too bad."

But Nirmal's family had hardly sat down for breakfast when Pakistani soldiers showed up on their doorstep calling him out. "Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was with them."

Salauddin Quader in ICT

The prosecution submitted formal charges against Salauddin Quader on Nov 14, 2011 and the tribunal took them into cognisance three days later.

A former prime ministerial adviser on parliamentary affairs when BNP chief Khaleda Zia was in office, the Chittagong MP was shown arrested for war crimes charges on Dec 20, 2010, five days after his arrest.

The investigating agency submitted a 119-page report with around 8,000-page data to the chief prosecutor on Oct 3 in a bid to prove allegations of war crimes during the 1971 Liberation War.

The BNP leader was indicted on Apr 4 on 23 counts of war crimes.

The Execution

The Pakistani soldiers called Nirmal to come out of the house in 'their language' which must have been Urdu. They reassured that he would not be hurt, but as soon as he came out of the house the soldiers barked, 'Hands up!'

"I put my hands up and wondered whether to grab hold of anyone." But there were too many soldiers and it was very likely that they would kill the entire family, Nirmal said he thought and decided against any rash moves. "So I simply stood there with my hands up, while the rest of the family began to cry fearing for my life."

Three soldiers advanced towards him, two of them with their fingers on the triggers and the weapons cocked. At this Nirmal's parents fell on their feet begging for his life. "The third one told them to shut up go inside."

At this everyone went inside but within 4-5 minutes Nirmal's uncle who had left and came back, was hauled out to the courtyard and once again the family began wailing and went out of the house begging for Jyotilal Sharma's life. "All of us were crying and we fell on their feet begging for mercy." SQ Chowdhury was also among the people they were begging mercy from, said Nirmal.

Unmoved the Pakistani soldiers told his family to line up and they finally realised that the soldiers would shoot them. Nirmal's mother Panchabala, his nephew, two uncles Makhanlal and Jyotilal, his brother Sunil and Nirmal himself were eventually made to sit down on the ground in a line.

"And then the soldiers walked away to stand at about 10 yards from us and prepared to shoot." Nirmal feigned to have been hit and fell to a side. "I was not hit but I lay there very still pretending to be dead and could hear a faint moaning after they stopped firing upon us."

Once the execution squad had walked away to another direction, Nirmal got up from his position to find his mother hit in the stomach with her entrails out on the ground. "She was dead," said Nirmal failing to restrain himself anymore.

Nirmal said his nephew was also hit in the stomach and had died. His youngest brother Sunil and his uncle Jyotilal had also died on the spot.

Nirmal's other uncle, Makhon Lal had been hit in the head and could only manage to moan. The witness kept describing the bloody scene in between his outbursts while the court kept telling him to sit down, calm himself and then resume.

"And then I came upon my father. He was a healthy man. His left armed was riddled with gunshots and his left thigh was also badly hurt," said Nirmal showing the court how his father lay sprawled on the ground.

The Escape

Nirmal's other brother Bimal had been away during the shooting and was afraid to come any close to the scene. Nirmal found him and they went off to another village crossing a Halda river.

They returned in the evening to see that the bodies still lay there. His father was still alive, "He had bled all day. He could faintly say 'water'. I gave him some water but could not do much."

Fearing that the squad might return, the two brothers fled the scene. In the evening, after dark they went to a neighbour's house, who were rather warm and welcomed them to stay. "The family had been preparing to go to bed, and the beds were already made. But they offered their beds to us and told us to sleep while they kept a watch."

After passing an almost sleepless night, one Dhanu woke them up early in the morning and told them it was time to move out.

"He gave us two caps to wear and wore one himself." The two brothers were told that they would tell anyone meeting on their way that they were to offer their 'Fajr' prayers. "He also taught us a kalema to recite as proof," said Nirmal reciting the Kalema Tayeb, which was the first message prophet Mohammad received from the Almighty.

However, no one really challenged them on their way and they safely crossed the Chittagong-Rangamati Road. At one point, Dhanu left them and returned while the two brothers kept walking towards India.

"We reached Ramgarh two days later from where we went over to Sabroom."

The witness then joined the war and fought in Sector 1. After the war, he returned to the village to find out that his uncle, who was moaning out, had lived for several more days but died eventually, while his father had become a cripple. "He lived for about five years or so."

Defence Objects

Defence counsel Ahsanul Huq raised an objection when the tribunal attempted to have the Kalema Tayeb included in the court records. He said, "It would be inappropriate."

The tribunal asked the defence counsel why he was raising an objection, to which the counsel simply said that this would not be appropriate to add to the testimony of Nirmal Chandra Sharma.

The tribunal chairman said, "You are a senior lawyer, and we would like to hear the reason for your objection. And when it comes from you, it should be a legal one."

Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, who visibly refrains from speaking out, spoke out loudly saying that the first message from the Almighty — meaning 'There is no god but Allah, and Mohammad was his messenger' in Arabic — "would not be appropriate in the mouth of a non-Muslim".

"It is a matter of taste. If you find it distasteful you should not record but if you don't find it so then you need not delete it," said Chowdhury.

He was backed up by his counsel this time. Ahsanul Huq said, "This is the same reason that I had also objected to the words."

The tribunal could not agree with the defence and decided to keep the kalema in the records as had been recited by the witness.

Defence counsel Ahsanul Huq was asked to begin his cross-examination right after the deposition was completed. The tribunal also directed him to complete the cross-examination within three sessions. Ahsanul Huq said he was not prepared and would need four sessions.

"I am willing to start the cross-examination today but would like some time to prepare."

The tribunal chair did not agree and said, "We do not expect to hear this from someone like Ahsanul Huq." The judge said that the counsel was quite capable to conduct the cross-examination and wanted him to continue.

Ahsanul Huq abided by the court's order after lunch recess and continued his cross-examination till almost 3.30pm when he requested an adjournment. The prayer was granted. The defence counsel will resume on Tuesday morning.

Salauddin Quader in ICT

The prosecution submitted formal charges against Salauddin Quader on Nov 14, 2011 and the tribunal took them into cognisance three days later.

A former prime ministerial adviser on parliamentary affairs when BNP chief Khaleda Zia was in office, the Chittagong MP was shown arrested for war crimes charges on Dec 20, 2010, five days after his arrest.

The investigating agency submitted a 119-page report with around 8,000-page data to the chief prosecutor on Oct 3 in a bid to prove allegations of war crimes during the 1971 Liberation War.

The BNP leader was indicted on Apr 4 on 23 charges of war crimes.

Quader Molla Case

The second tribunal saw conclusion of cross-examination of the first prosecution witness against Jamaat-e-Islami Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Molla.

The tribunal also fixed Jul 15 for order on a defence petition to review Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed's indictment order.

Abdur Razzaq, Jamaat's lead counsel at the war crimes tribunals, argued for the petition.

Your Right To Know
Monday, January 23, 2012
ry 17, 2012
Witness Testifies at War Crimes Trial
Sayedee handed 3 sisters to Pak troops
Staff Correspondent
A prosecution witness yesterday told the International Crimes Tribunal that Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee along with other collaborators handed his three sisters to the Pakistani occupation force in 1971.
"They picked up three of my sisters and handed them over to a Pakistani soldiers' camp in Pirojpur," said the witness in his late sixties in an emotion-choked voice.
"They were raped at the camp... and sent back home after three days…" uttered the witness before breaking into tears.
He mentioned the names of his sisters but the tribunal requested the media not to reveal those. The Daily Star has also kept from publishing the name of the witness in compliance with its editorial policy.
A few days after his sisters returned, the collaborators led by Sayedee forced him and his family members to convert to Islam, he alleged.
"They forced me, my parents and siblings to convert to Islam and made us say prayers at the mosque," he said.
The three-member tribunal led by its Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq finished recording the deposition and the cross-examination of the prosecution witness.
He is the thirteenth prosecution witness in a case against Sayedee regarding crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War.
Sayedee was present at the dock during the proceedings. He is among six Jamaat and two BNP leaders who are facing charges of crimes against humanity at the court.
According to the witness, before his sisters were taken, Sayedee along with some other collaborators came to their house and looted it.
After they were forced to convert to Islam, all his family members went to India except for him, he said.
Apart from his family, the collaborators led by Sayedee converted some 100 to 150 Hindus including Narayan Saha, Nikhil Paul, Sunil Paul and Haran Bhowmik, the witness alleged.
"After being converted, they named me Abdul Gani," said the witness, adding that the collaborators used to give him a tupi (cap) and a tasbih (used to keep track of repetitive utterances) whenever he was taken to the mosque.
After the Liberation War, he returned to his original religion, the witness added.
The witness said Sayedee was his neighbour living in a rented house in Parerhaat during the War.
After the prosecution witness finished his testimony, Sayedee's defence started cross-examining him.
Defence counsel Mizanul Islam asked the witness whether he had submitted the list of valuables the collaborators had looted from his house during the war to the investigation officer of the tribunal.
"They looted everything, even the brooms. What should I write on the list!" was his response.
Islam later asked the witness whether he had atoned for converting to Islam after he retained his original religion.
The witness responded: "I became Muslim to save my life. So, atonement was not required."
At one point of the cross-examination, Islam told the witness that his national identity card puts his date of birth on July 8, 1963.
The witness replied: "Either I had said it wrong or they wrote it wrong."
The answer prompted a discussion in the court with the defence saying if the date of birth on the ID card is true, the witness was seven during the Liberation War instead of 27 as he claimed.
At this, the court said it is also observing the issue, while the prosecution said they would clarify it during their argument.
Islam also asked the witness whether he had requested the authorities concerned to correct the mistake. The witness said he did not.
Islam also told the witness that his three sisters were very young during the War.
But the witness denied it.
The tribunal is scheduled to record the deposition of fourteenth prosecution witness Abdul Halim Babul today.
The Daily Star, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Friday, December 9, 2011
60 Hindus forced to 'become Muslims'
War hero testifies against Sayedee
Staff Correspondent
Resuming his deposition yesterday, Ruhul Amin Nabin told the International Crimes Tribunal that Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee and other collaborators had compelled 60 Hindus to convert to Islam during the Liberation War in Pirojpur. He said they also helped the Pakistani army rape several women in 1971.
Freedom fighter Nabin, who was 21 years old at the time, said some of the Hindus of Parer Haat area, forced to convert, fled to India as they were unable to deal with the humiliation. They, however, returned after the liberation of Bangladesh and followed their own religion, he said.
Now 61, Nabin began his deposition Wednesday and resumed and completed giving his testimony yesterday. He is the second prosecution witness to testify against Sayedee, who has been charged with crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 war.
Detained Sayedee, 71, was present in the dock of the tribunal during the testimony.
A three-judge tribunal led by its Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq recorded the testimony of Nabin. It fixed December 11 for cross-examination of Nabin and Mahabubul Alam Hawlader, who completed his deposition Wednesday.
There are 66 more prosecution witnesses yet to testify in the case.
Nabin yesterday narrated how during the Liberation War Sayedee helped the Pakistani occupation forces loot valuables from Awami League activists, freedom fighters and the Hindu community in Pirojpur.
The Pakistani occupation forces went to Pirojpur district on May 3, 1971. Around 52 members of the force arrived in 26 rickshaws in Parer Haat area of Pirojpur on May 7, Nabin told the court, a fact which supports the statement of Hawlader.
Sekandar Ali Shikder, Danesh Ali Mollah, Mawlana Mosleh Uddin and Sayedee, among other collaborators, welcomed the Pakistani force led by one Cap Ejaz. Fluent Urdu speaker Sayedee managed to form a close and friendly relationship with the Pakistani occupation forces, Nabin said, echoing Hawlader's statement.
With the help of collaborators, the Pakistani force looted over 50 houses and shops in the area, including the shop of a local businessman Makhan who had around 20kg of gold (22-sher) and silver jewellery buried under his shop.
They looted eight more houses in Pirojpur's Badura Chithalia village the following day and torched them, he said.
“On a Thursday sometime in mid-June, I took a boat to Parer Haat to gather rations for freedom fighters…It was a haat day [weekly bazaar]…I stood in front of Masud's store and observed the atmosphere of the surrounding area,” Nabin said.
It was then that he saw Sayedee in the distance. “He was wearing a panjabi and lungi,” said Nabin, adding, “He carried a corrugated iron sheet in one hand, and brass utensils in a wooden basket on his head.”
Nabin watched Sayedee, then known as Delawar Hossain Shikder, make his way to a shop, which used to be known as “Panch Tahabil”.
He directed passerby Moulvi Nurul Haque's attention towards Sayedee and said, “See, Delawar Saheb is taking away the loot.”
Nabin, who carried a revolver then, turned angry and told Nurul Haque, “I will shoot this robber right now!”
“Nurul Haque stopped me and said if I created a scene the Pakistani occupation forces would torch the remaining houses too and commit genocide.”
Nabin then made his way towards another shop in the bazaar area where he learnt from locals that Madan Saha's shop had been looted. He then saw Sayedee appear with five men. They began demolishing Madan Saha's shop.
The looted goods were then taken to Sayedee's father-in-law's house in the area, Nabin said.
According to Nabin, the collaborators took over two shops in Parer Haat to store the booty. Sayedee was in charge of the shops, he said.
Nabin told the court that during their stay in Parer Haat the Pakistani occupation forces raped a number of girls with the help of the collaborators.
The collaborators also forced 50 to 60 Hindus to convert to Islam. The victims included Rony Saha, Makhan Saha, Dr Ganesh Chandra, Dr Sudhir Chandra Roy, Gouranga and Ajit Chandra Roy, he added.
“Everyday, they were taken to mosques and forced to pray five times. They were also forced to learn two to four suras [verses of the holy Quran] and were provided with materials for prayers.”
Unable to accept the insult, many of them escaped to India, he added.
On June 21, 1971, Nabin along with a number of freedom fighters went to India to receive guerrilla training. On his return, he took part in armed warfare against the Pakistani occupation forces, Nabin said.
Along with his fellow freedom fighters, Nabin returned to Parer Haat on December 18. The freedom fighters then searched different houses to get hold of the collaborators.
While some were arrested, identified collaborators like Danesh Ali, Maulana Mosleh Uddin and Sayedee could not be apprehended, he said. “We came to know that they had fled,” Nabin told the court.
Some looted goods were recovered from the houses of the collaborators. They were handed back to their original owners.
On behalf of the freedom fighters and the victims of the atrocities committed during the Liberation War by the Pakistani occupation forces, Nabin pleaded for justice.
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World Briefing | ASIA
Bangladesh: Opposition Leader Charged With Crimes in 1971 Independence War
Published: October 3, 2011
Follow @nytimesworld for international breaking news and headlines.
A court charged a prominent opposition politician, Moulana Delwar Hossain Sayedi, on Monday with war crimes in the country’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. Prosecutors said the charges against Mr. Sayedi, a leader of the Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, included rape, murder, arson, looting and forcing Hindu citizens to convert to Islam. If found guilty, Mr. Sayedi, 71, could face death by hanging. His party opposed independence and fought with the Pakistani Army. Mr. Sayedi denied the allegations, saying, “I committed no crime.”
The Daily Star, Thursday, August 9, 2012
Sayedee's Trial
ICT accepts statement of witness who died recently
Staff Correspondent
The International Crimes Tribunal-1 yesterday accepted the statement of another witness, passed away recently, as evidence against Jamaat leader and war crimes accused Delawar Hossain Sayedee.
With this, the number of witnesses against the Jamaat leader will be 28, excluding Investigation Officer Helal Uddin.
Meanwhile, the tribunal extended the deadline of cross-examining Helal Uddin to August 13 from yesterday as Sayedee's counsels sought for more time to complete quizzing him.
Mentioning that witness Mukunda Chakraborty died three and a half months ago, Prosecutor Syed Haider Ali in his petition urged the tribunal to accept his statements as evidence in line with the rules of evidence of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973.
According to Rule 19(2) of the Act, a tribunal may receive in evidence any statement recorded by a magistrate or an investigation officer being a statement made by any person who, at the time of the trial, is dead or whose attendance cannot be procured without any amount of delay or expense which the Tribunal considers unreasonable.
On March 29, the tribunal accepted statements of 15 absentee witnesses, given to an investigation officer, as evidence against Sayedee and refused to do the same for 31 other depositions.
Mukunda, who died on April 21, was one among the 31 witnesses.
Opposing the petition, defence counsel Mizanul Islam questioned why the tribunal would accept the statement even though it was rejected earlier.
Justice Anwarul Huq, one of the three-member tribunal, told the defence, “The state of the witness is different now.” There was no problem to accept the statement as evidence as Mukunda passed away.
Mizanul argued saying that had the witness was so important to the prosecution, then they would have tried to produce him following the rejection. But they did not do it, he added.
Following the hearing, tribunal Chairman Justice Md Nizamul Huq accepted the petition and asked the defence to cross-examine Helal Uddin on the matter.
Nizamul Huq also observed that the defence needed more time to cross-examine the IO as it was not possible to complete by the scheduled deadline, yesterday.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Pak troops shoot after talking to Sayedee
Witness tells war crimes tribunal
Staff Correspondent
Prosecution witness Manik Poshari yesterday narrated before the International Crimes Tribunal how Pakistani soldiers shot his employee Ibrahim after consulting with Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee in 1971.
“They took Kutti [Ibrahim] to the other end of the Pararhaat Bridge [a bridge in Parerhaat of Pirojpur], consulted with Delawar Sikder [now known as Delawar Hossain Sayedee] and shot him,” Poshari told the tribunal. Sayedee stood beside as the body of Ibrahim was thrown into the river.
Poshari while hiding on the other side of the bridge witnessed the murder of Ibrahim, who worked in his house.
Poshari, who claimed to be 27 during the 1971 Liberation War, testified yesterday in a case against Delawar Hossain Sayedee filed in connection with crimes against humanity committed in 1971.
Poshari started giving his testimony yesterday after the three-member tribunal finished recording the deposition and cross-examination of fifth prosecution witness Mahtabuddin Hawlader.
Sayedee, who is now 71, was present at the dock during the proceedings. The Jamaat leader spent much of the time reading a pocket-size book. He was allowed to lie down on the dock as he suffers from back pain.
After Poshari finished his deposition, Sayedee's counsels began cross-examining the witness yesterday and it will continue today.
Yesterday, Poshari, who was a fish trader in 1971, began his deposition by introducing himself. “During the 1971 Liberation War, my age was around 27 and I was in my home at Chithalia village of Parerhaat.”
Poshari said the Parerhaat peace committee was formed with Delawar Hossain Sayedee (who he kept referring to as Delawar Sikder), Sekandar Sikder, Danesh Ali Mollah, Moslem Mawlana, Majhar Talukder and other collaborators.
The peace committee members then went on to form the collaborators' force in the area, he said.
On May 8, 1971, Sayedee, Sekandar Sikder, Danesh Ali Mollah, Mohsin Mawlana, Momin, Hakim Kari, Sobhan Mawlana along with other collaborators and Pakistani soldiers came to Poshari's house in Chithalia of Parerhaat.
“Sensing them approaching, my brothers and I hid ourselves in the woods on the eastern side of our house,” said Poshari. “We watched everything that happened in my house from there.”
Seeing the Pakistani soldiers, Mofizuddin, a cousin of Poshari, and Ibrahim, who used to work in the house, tried to run away.
But they were captured and tied up.
“Then, they looted the rice, paddy, money, gold and other valuables from my house,” Poshari told the court.
While Sayedee, Danesh Ali Mollah, Moslem Mawlana and other collaborators distributed the looted gold and many valuables among themselves, other items including rice, paddy and the furniture were looted by the “public”, he said.
After the looting, under the leadership of Sayedee, the collaborators poured kerosene all over the house. “Delawar Sikder then torched the place...”
According to Poshari, his house had sections--three residential quarters, a granary and a guestroom--and it was valued at Tk 10 lakh in 1971.
He claimed that the burnt corrugated iron sheets, pillars, wood and other remains of the torched house are still there even after 40 years.
After torching Poshari's house, the collaborators and Pakistani soldiers took Mofizuddin and Ibrahim towards their camp in Parerhaat, Poshari said.
“I followed them from afar to the Parerhaat Bridge,” Poshari told the court.
“From my end of the bridge, I saw the Pakistani soldiers consulting with Delawar Sikder and Danesh Mollah.”
Ibrahim, who Poshari kept referring to by his nickname Kutti, was untied and taken to the western end of the bridge.
“They took him to the other end of the bridge. The Pakistani soldiers consulted with Delawar Sikder and shot Kutti who gave a loud shriek.”
Ibrahim's body was then thrown into the river, Poshari said.
Mofizuddin, the other captive, was taken to the camp and brutally tortured there. Between 1:30am and 2:00am the following morning, Mofizuddin escaped from the camp and returned to Poshari's house.
“His whole body was covered with blood and scars,” said Poshari.
Earlier yesterday, fifth prosecution witness Mahtabuddin Hawlader narrated how he saw a collaborator shoot Bisha Bali under Sayedee's orders in Umedpur village of Parerhaat.
“On June 2, 1971, I was on my way to Parerhaat around 10:30am,” said Mahtabuddin.
It was then when he saw Delawar Hossain Sayedee, Sekander Sikder, Mawlana Moslem and other collaborators along with Pakistani soldiers enter the Hindupara (a neighbourhood predominantly Hindu) of Umedpur village.
“I quickly hid myself in the woods on the southern end of the Hindupara,” he said.
He watched the Pakistani army and the collaborators loot around 22 houses including that of Anik Mandal, Nalita Bali, Harendranath Chakrabarti, Muken Chakrabarti, Satish Bala, Chitya Talukder and Robi Talukder among others.
The houses were torched afterwards.
“I saw the collaborators and peace committee members share the looted valuables among themselves,” said Mahtabuddin.
Then the collaborators, led by Sayedee, tied Bisha Bali to a coconut tree and brutally beat him up, he said. “At one point, Delawar Sikder said something in Urdu to a razakar [collaborator], who then shot Bisha Bali,” said Mahtabuddin.
On the same day, he heard that the collaborators also looted the house of Parerhaat's freedom fighter Mahbubul Alam. Mahbubul earlier testified against Sayedee in the tribunal.
During the cross-examination, counsel Mizanul Islam asked Mahtabuddin whether he knew the collaborator who shot Bisha Bali, and whether he knows what happened to Bali's body.
Mahtabuddin said he does not know the answer to either of the questions and he did not try to find out during the last 40 years.
The witness told the counsel that he is currently the Awami League General Secretary of Parerhaat Union.
He later told the counsel that Pirojpur sadar was liberated from the Pakistani army on December 8, 1971, under the leadership of Major Ziauddin and Parerhaat was liberated on the same day under the leadership of freedom fighter Ruhul Amin Nobin, who also testified against Sayedee in the tribunal.
After liberating Parerhaat, Nobin and other freedom fighters captured Mobin, Atahar Ali Member, Abdul Bari Mintu, Habibur Rahman Mridha, Sobhan and other collaborators from the area, he said.
Later, counsel Manjur Ahmed Ansary concluded the cross-examination by suggesting that the allegations Mahtabuddin brought against Delawar Hossain Sayedee in his testimony are false.
The counsel went on to say that Mahtabuddin does not have a profession. And as a local Awami League leader, he falsely testified against Sayedee in a false case under the directive of his MP, and enjoyed government facilities for it.
Mahtabuddin Hawlader responded by saying that it was not true.