Published: Thursday, May 9, 2013

WAR TRIAL

Kamaruzzaman to hang

5 of 7 charges proved, defence to appeal against verdict

Law enforcers take Jamaat-e-Islami leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman to jail on Thursday after a Dhaka tribunal sentenced him to death finding him guilty of five out of seven charges of wartime offences levelled against him. Photo: Focus Bangla

A Dhaka tribunal on Thursday handed death penalty to Jamaat-e-Islami leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman for two wartime offences committed during the country’s 1971 Liberation War.

The International Crimes Tribunal-2 found him guilty of five out of seven charges leveled against him.

The prosecution failed to prove rest two charges, it said while reading out an excerpt of the verdict.

Besides death penalty for two charges, the assistant secretary general of Jamaat, which was instrumental to foil Bangladesh’s struggle for independence, was awarded life-term imprisonment in two cases and 10-year jail for the other offence.

Click here to read the full verdict.

“The history will not pardon,” a visibly aggrieved Kamaruzzaman said while being taken out of the dock of the tribunal after the verdict.

Strongly opposing the tribunal decision, the convict’s counsel Saifur Rahman said they would appeal against the judgement with the Supreme Court.

Hasan Iqbal, Kamaruzzaman’s son, told reporters that his father was deprived of justice.

“The allegations brought against him (Kamaruzzaman) are false. He is a victim of political vengeance of the government,” he said.

Meanwhile, happy at the verdict, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said: “The nation got justice through the judgement.”

Earlier, a prison van carrying Kamaruzzaman entered the tribunal premises around 9:30am amid tight security.

The tribunal started reading out the 62-page summary of the 215-page judgement around 11:15am.

Kamaruzzaman was known to have been a key organiser of the Al-Badr, an auxiliary force of then Pakistani army which planned and executed the killing of Bangalee intellectuals at the fag end of the Liberation War, according to historical records.

The tribunal fixed the judgement day on Wednesday, 22 days after the completion of the case proceedings.

CHARGES AND PUNISHMENT

On June 29, 1971, under the leadership of Kamaruzzaman, a group of Al-Badr members abducted Badiuzzaman of Ramnagar village under Jhenaigati upazila in Sherpur. He was tortured at Ahammed Nagar army camp all night long and was shot to death the following day.

Finding Kamaruzzaman guilty of the charge, the tribunal awarded him life-term imprisonment.

In mid-May, 1971, Kamaruzzaman and his accomplices caused inhumane acts to pro-liberation intellectual Syed Abdul Hannan, the then principal of Sherpur College, by compelling him to walk naked through the town under constant whipping.

Kamaruzzaman was given 10-year jail for the offence.

On July 25, 1971, Kamaruzzaman advised members of Al-Badr and Razakar forces to commit a large-scale massacre in association with Pakistani troops in Sohagpur village of Nalitabari upazila in Sherpur. The collaborators murdered 164 unarmed civilians, 44 of whom have been named, and raped women.

On August 23, 1971, on Kamaruzzaman’s instruction, collaborators took Golam Mostafa of Gridda Narayanpur village in Sherpur to an Al-Badr camp. Kamaruzzaman and his accomplices brought Mostafa and one Abul Kasem to Serih Bridge and gunned them down.

Kasem survived as he jumped into the river but suffered injuries in his fingers. Mostafa died on the spot.

Convinced of both the charges, the tribunal awarded Kamaruzzaman capital punishment.

In mid-Ramadan in 1971, Kamaruzzaman and his followers picked up Liakat Ali and Mujibur Rahman Panu from their respective houses, took them to a Razakar camp and tortured them there.

After four days of detention, on Kamaruzzaman’s order, the two along with 11 other civilians were shifted to Jhenaigati Ahammed Nagar army camp. Afterwards, eight of them were shot to death. The accused and his aide Kamran were present during the shooting.

In November 1971, under the instruction of Kamaruzzaman, some members of Al-Badr abducted Tunu and one Jahangir from Golki Bari and took them to the District Council Dak Bungalow in Mymensingh. Tunu was tortured to death. Jahangir was detained but was freed later.

The prosecution failed to prove these two allegations.

On Ramadan 27, Kamaruzzaman accompanied by 15-20 armed Al-Badr members abducted one Tepa Mia and his elder son Zahurul Islam Dara from Golapjan Road in Mymensingh. They were taken to the Al-Badr camp at District Council Dak Bungalow.

The next morning, the father and son along with five others were lined up on the bank of the Brahmaputra river. Tepa Mia managed to escape by jumping into the river, but the other six were killed on the spot.

The tribunal found him guilty of this charge and ordered life imprisonment.

THE TRIAL

Kamaruzzaman was arrested in a criminal case on July 13, 2010, and shown arrested on war crimes charges on August 2 the same year.

The prosecution pressed formal charges against him incorporating nine counts of crimes against humanity on January 15, 2012, and Tribunal-1 took the charges into cognisance on January 31. The case was transferred to Tribunal-2 on April 16, 2012.

On June 4, 2012, the tribunal indicted Kamaruzzaman on seven charges of crimes against humanity, including murder and torture of unarmed civilians and complicity in other crimes during the nine-month-long war.

The indictment order, in a brief profile of the accused, said Kamaruzzaman, as the president of Islami Chhatra Sangha of greater Mymensingh in 1971, had played the role of a key organiser in the formation of the Al-Badr force.

Under the leadership of Kamaruzzaman, all members of Chhatra Sangha of greater Mymensingh were absorbed into Al-Badr within a month. They, after receiving summary training, launched atrocities targeting the Hindus and unarmed Bangalee civilians in greater Mymensingh, the order said.

As many as 18 prosecution witnesses, including the investigation officer of the case, testified against the accused, while five people, including Kamaruzzaman’s son and brother, testified in favour of the accused between July 15, 2012 and March 24, 2013.

The prosecution and the defence held closing arguments from March 24 until April 16.

The two tribunals dealing with the war crimes cases have already delivered verdicts in three cases. Jamaat Nayeb-e-Ameer Delawar Hossain Sayedee and expelled Jamaat member Abul Kalam Azad were sentenced to death while Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah received life imprisonment.

The verdict delivery in the war crimes case against former Jamaat chief Ghulam Azam is pending with Tribunal-1.

  • http://www.facebook.com/slji71 Salahuddin Jamal

    Our Heros hv gradually gathered in Shahbagh and explosion of Joy all around.So, all silent on the Western front- Dhaka. Others apparently are Licking their wounds & perhaps awaiting Sundown!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/abdullah.abdullah.148116 Abdullah Abdullah

    Well done, as expected. Congratulations!

  • http://www.facebook.com/slji71 Salahuddin Jamal

    The Rapes and killings against Humanity in our 1971 Fire Storm War of Liberation is similar to the Int’l standards as committed by the; Germans & the Japanese hence, our ICT 1 & 2 are known as Int’l War Crimes Tribunal. But it is strictly;held on the sacred soil of Bangladesh & financed by the GOB, with our own Judges etc.

  • Anwar Hossain

    Now the time of implementation of verdict .

  • ysan99

    Hearty congratulations to Bangladesh! Bangladesh is right on track to become a progressive, tolerant and great secular country.

  • Mahboob Hossain

    I do not know whether the verdict is correct or politically motivated. I am not responsible for this confusion because this government has withdrawn about 7000 cases against them and filed thousands of false cases against the opposition. See the killer of two prominent journalists (Shagor and Runi) is yet be arrested.

  • Dr Anisur Rahman Anis

    Some people still unaware about the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh and the domestic law, some has been misinterpreted that it is (ICT) an international tribunal but this is not the fact. And ofcourse ICT maintaining International Standards as many country’s of the World support the trial as it is Bangladesh’s domestic matter.

  • Dev Saha

    There is nothing to rejoice seeing another animal being put to death. The irony is that death penalties would not bring much comfort to the victims’ families. Their loved ones are lost forever.

    • Sharukh Khan

      Very painfully true, Dev!

  • joy

    I just wish the BNP agree with ICT for now. However, when BNP in power only god can save the true war criminals. Just wait the when the rope are around all the Al and PM necks. See who laugh then.

  • http://www.facebook.com/abdullah.abdullah.148116 Abdullah Abdullah

    To me, he is ‘RAZAKAR’, who caused and causes harm to the interest of my nation and country. This should be the universal and all time definition of ‘RAZAKAR’, to all Bangladeshis. We have plenty of RAZAKARS around us.

    • sabrina

      Who defines what is harmful to the country . it is Al or is it you . We dont need fasicts in this country -who will hang anyone who disagrees with them . And who by the way defines what is the nation – it is the majority or is it the minority

      • truthprevails53

        The majority want them punished. Dont you want them punished for their crimes against humanity?

    • http://www.facebook.com/rashid.ahmed.75033149 Rashid Ahmed

      Thank you Mr.Abdullah, you have appreciated the cause of our concern. We are having deadly razakars these days than what we had in 1971. In 1971, razakars raped, looted others’ houses, torched neighbours’ houses and killed freedom fighters.These days, razakars get plenty of women supply at home and abroad(do not need to rape), kidnaps or kills in open day light in front of media and police, pushes poor people inside unsafe buildings by force to make them work and loots the entire nations wealth.

  • Shafiqur Rahman

    I agree with Mr. Dev Saha’s comments. There is no cause for cheerful celebration for a person given the death penalty. We can cheer about the justice handed down. The ICT verdict doc does in detail provide vivid descriptions of the atrocities committed by this criminal with aid by other Al-Badr members. In following the ICT laws, we need to be supportive of the justice system even through the appeal process. We cannot be side tracked by our sometimes impulsive feelings of anger or joy during the appeal process. The decision was, without any doubts and with solid proof,handed down, Glad that justice has been done.

  • Sharukh Khan

    Political dispute has been existing since the brutal killings of Bangabandhu and his entire family on 15th August in 1975. This verdict will not increase the “dispute”. On the contrary this verdict will reduce the dispute by marginalizing BNP and Jamat and by making the pro liberation forces stronger! Joy Bangla.

  • moh karim

    Finally, he is not smiling….

  • truthprevails53

    Hope they get it over and done with soon.

  • Julfiqar

    Great news. Let these Razakars be punished under the country they didn’t want. Their brutality should be brought under justice and thus after 42 years they are being brought under justice. This is the point where the nation has won.

    However, we need to be cautious as well. Bringing these culprits under justice is not the final game. We need to raise our vocal chord for the murders of Savar tragedy.

    If we could be united a nation for just next 5 years, all the political parties except Jamat ( I don’t consider them as a political party) have to bring change in the format of the parties. This is pressure can make AL a better AL, BNP a better BNP, JP a better JP or can create a whole new dimension of better politics.

    We have to be optimists as we have seen enough darkness.

  • MH Khan

    Rajakars were the servants of the Pak army. Al Bdrs were the
    killing squads. It is good that we managed to bring the commander in chief of
    the heinous Al Badr to justice. Al Shams was their so called intelligence unit.
    Al Shams criminals also must be brought to justice.

  • Iftekhar Hassan

    I would like to see Bangladesh doing all they can to bring those real Killers, the Pakistani army who are still alive and face real ICT. I also think India granting them pardon for their own long term interest of making Kashmir issue a bilateral issue from an international issue at the expenses of Bangladesh was totally unjustified. Because, Kashmir issue is no longer a Bangladeshi problem.

    Prosecuting these auxiliary forces of Pakistan army or collaborators, the Razakars, al-Badr gangs, while justified are not primary the primary killers. This will be a very interesting “court of appeal” case.