Published: Tuesday, August 6, 2013

War Crimes Trial

Accused gets rare bail

The International Crimes Tribunal-2 yesterday granted conditional bail to war crimes suspect Syed Mohammad Qaisar, due to his poor health condition.
Bail conditions forbid Qaisar from contacting any political leaders, the media and witnesses of war crimes and he has to surrender his passport, if he has any, to the tribunal’s registrar office.
Qaisar, 73, a state minister of HM Ershad’s government and an alleged leader of Peace Committee, an auxiliary force of Pakistan army during the Liberation War, was arrested on May 21. The investigation agency of the tribunal is probing his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War.
Following a defence bail petition on Qaisar’s health condition, the tribunal on July 22 directed jail authorities to give a report by July 30. The defence said Qaisar had been suffering from various ailments, including cardiac disease and diabetes.
The prosecution, however, vigorously opposed the bail petition.
The three-member tribunal led by Justice Obaidul Hassan said it had received report of the jail authority and also seen medical report submitted by the defence.
“It appears that the accused petitioner is an old man of different complications and he is incapable to move independently … We are inclined to enlarge him on bail on health grounds and subject to fulfillment of the following conditions,” said Justice Hassan.
Other conditions say Qaisar has to stay in his Banani residence, must co-operate with the investigation agency and he would not go anywhere without prior approval of the tribunal.
The court said Qaisar’s son and his counsel Abdus Sobhan would pay Tk 1 lakh in bail bond. If any of the conditions is violated, the bail order will be cancelled.
According to the prosecution, Qaisar, as a leader of local Peace Committee, had formed “Qaisar Force” in Habiganj and in collaboration with the Pakistani Army committed many crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.
Earlier on March 31, 2011, Abdul Alim, a former BNP lawmaker, accused in 74 counts of war crimes, was granted conditional bail by International Crimes Tribunal.