The prosecution submitted formal war crimes charges against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Molla to the International Crimes Tribunal yesterday.
The charges include killing, looting and arson in the city's Mirpur and Mohammadpur areas and Keraniganj during the country's Liberation War in 1971, prosecutor Mohammad Ali said at a press briefing.
“Quader Molla committed hundreds of war crimes and crimes against humanity. We've brought seven specific charges against him," he said, adding that they have enough evidence to prove the charges.
Quader, an assistant secretary general of Jamaat, was involved in the killing and burial of hundreds of people at several killing grounds in Mirpur and its adjacent areas, he told reporters at the tribunal.
The International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973, has provision for death sentence for such offences.
During the war, Quader was widely known as a "butcher" for his direct involvement in massacring Bangalees. In league with the Biharis and non-Bangalees, he unleashed a killing spree even before the crackdown on the Bangalees by the Pakistani forces on the black night of March 25, 1971, known as "operation search light", Ali said.
The three-member tribunal fixed December 28 for taking the charges into cognisance.
It also re-fixed December 28 for taking the charges against top Jamaat leaders Motiur Rahman Nizami, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and Muhammad Kamaruzzaman into cognisance.
On December 11, the prosecution charged the trio with war crimes and crimes against humanity including genocide, rape, arson and looting during the war.
The tribunal was originally scheduled to accept the charges against them yesterday.
Jamaat was against the liberation of Bangladesh, and its leaders collaborated with the invading Pakistani army.
Around 30 lakh Bangalees were killed and some two lakh Bangalee women violated by the Pak forces and their Bangladeshi collaborators during the nine-month war.
Prosecutor Ali said although Quader Molla committed crimes against humanity even before the war broke out on March 26, 1971, he was charged with the atrocities between March 26 and December 16, as the tribunal is dealing with the crimes committed during the war.
After the press briefing, he narrated to this paper how a pro-liberation student named Pallab was killed on Quader's instructions.
On April 3, 1971, a group of collaborators picked up Pallab, a Bangla College student, from Dhaka's Nawabpur and took him to Mirpur-12. There they tied him with a tree near an Eidgah ground and left him in that way for two days.
The collaborators then came back on April 5 and cut off several of his fingers before shooting him to death. A collaborator named Akhter fired five shots at Pallab, as Quader Molla looked on, Ali said.
The body of Pallab, who had been organising freedom fighters, was left hanging from the tree for two more days before he was buried at Mirpur's Kalapani along with seven other bodies.
The identity of the seven bodies, however, could not be known.
“Quader in association with the razakars [collaborators] formed Al-Badr [an auxiliary force of the Pakistani army] and established a reign of terror in Mirpur, Kalyanpur and Mohammadpur areas during the Liberation War," he said.
The Jamaat leader was also involved in torching many villages in Keraniganj, in which other Jamaat leaders including Nizami, Mojaheed and Kamaruzzaman were involved, Ali added.
At present, five Jamaat and two BNP leaders including Salauddin Quader Chowdhury face war crimes charges. While Salauddin Quader is in jail, the other BNP leader Abdul Aleem is on bail due to illness.
Meanwhile, Jamaat Nayeb-e-Ameer Delawar Hossain Sayedee's counsels yesterday began cross-examining the second prosecution witness Ruhul Amin Nabin in the case filed against him on war crimes charges.
Defence counsels Mizanul Islam and Kafil Uddin Chowdhury cross-examined Nabin for around four hours.
The cross-examination will resume today.