Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fugitive BNP leader Khokon indicted

Tribunal frames 11 charges including genocide, torture

Fugitive BNP leader Khokon indictedInternational Crimes Tribunal-1 yesterday indicted fugitive BNP leader MA Zahid Hossain Khokon on 11 charges, including genocide, torture, abduction and confinement during the Liberation War.
The three-member tribunal, headed by its Chairman Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, with members Justice Jahangir Hossain Selim and Justice Anwarul Haque, fixed November 3 for the opening statement of the prosecution.
The prosecution witnesses would also testify on that day.
Justice Selim read out the war crimes charges framed against the fugitive known as Khokon Razakar.
Khokon, now 70, was a local leader of the Razakar, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani army, in Faridpur district during the 1971 war.
He was involved in at least 13 counts of war crimes that left at least 50 people dead, eight others seriously injured and two women raped.
Khokon was also involved in forced conversion of Hindus, torching of numerous houses and two temples and deportation of seven people, according to the charges levelled against him.
The prosecution had submitted the charges to the tribunal through its registrar’s office on June 23. The agency designated to probe war crimes completed investigating his alleged war crimes on May 29.
According to the investigation agency, Khokon, who was a close associate of convicted war criminal Abul Kalam Azad in Faridpur, had taken part in the election campaign for a Jamaat-e-Islami candidate in 1970.
He was involved with the party and later joined the BNP.
As the vice-president of Nagarkanda unit BNP, Khokon contested the municipality election in 2011 and became its mayor.
He went into hiding after taking the oath, and the agency “assumed” that he is now in Sweden with his son and daughter.
Meanwhile yesterday, the tribunal adjourned until today the hearing on charge framing in the war crimes case against Jamaat acting secretary general ATM Azharul Islam in response to a defence prayer that said the chief defence counsel could not appear due to personal reasons.
The tribunal also adjourned the proceedings of the war crimes case against Jamaat-e-Islami Nayeb-e-Ameer Abdus Subhan until October 23, when the defence is to place its arguments. The prosecution completed its arguments on charge framing.