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Jamaat a party of war criminals

Shahriar Kabir in cross-examination

Eminent war crimes researcher Shahriar Kabir yesterday told the International Crimes Tribunal-2 he had been raising voice and writing against Jamaat-e-Islami as "it is a party of war criminals".

“I think Jamaat-e-Islami, as a party, is an organisation of war criminals, mass murderers and people who committed crimes against humanity [during the Liberation War]," Shahriar said while facing cross-examination in a case against Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed.

The three-member tribunal led by Justice Obaidul Hassan with members Justice members Justice Md Mozibur Rahman and Judge M Shahinur Islam completed recording the cross-examination of Shahriar, also the first prosecution witness in the case.

Earlier on August 26 last year, Shahriar gave testimony for two hours and 40 minutes, while the defence cross-examined him for 14 hours and 45 minutes in seven days. But his cross-examination remained incomplete for his foreign tour.

In his testimony, Shahriar appealed to the tribunal to try Jamaat and its associate bodies alongside its top leaders for "committing" crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.

After Shahriar, 11 more prosecution witnesses have so far given testimonies in the case against the Jamaat leader, who was indicted with seven charges in connection with murder, genocide and hatching conspiracy to kill the country's intellectuals.

During his one-hour-and-20-minute cross-examination, Shahriar, also executive president of Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, answered 23 questions asked by defence counsel Mizanul Islam.

The defence asked him whether Mojaheed's name was in the first report of the People's Inquiry Commission.

On March 26, 1993, a People's Inquiry Commission was formed to investigate the activities of alleged war criminals and collaborators in two phases. The commission had prepared two reports on 16 war crimes suspects.

Shahriar said Mojaheed's name was not in the first report.

"As we had lack of resources, we decided to conduct inquiry into the misdeeds of eight accused every year. Mojaheed was included in the second report of the People's Inquiry Commission published on March 26, 1995," said the veteran journalist.

In reply to questions, he said the central researchers and investigators of the commission used to collect information from every district.

At one stage of the cross-examination, Mizanul said, "You [witness], are in principle an anti-Jamaat person. For this reason you have been carrying out falsehood against the Jamaat leaders for long and giving statements and writing books in this regard."

Shahriar responded, "I think Jamaat-e-Islami, as a party, is an organisation of war criminals, mass murderers and people who committed crimes against humanity. I write against Jamaat because they have legalised killings and rapes in the name of religion. I didn't carry out falsehood against the Jamaat leaders."

"Are you against religion-based politics?" asked Mizanul.

"I am against politics in the name of religion. I think religion is a holy matter. Religion shouldn't be brought in politics," Shahriar added.

"You have given false testimony against Jamaat, its founder Moulana Maududi and its leaders," Mizanul suggested.

Shahriar rejected the defence's claim saying, "It is not true. Hundreds of pieces of evidence are available in my writings and documentaries."

"What you have said before the tribunal about Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed is totally false," suggested Mizanul.

"It's not true. I have said the truth," said Shahriar.

Meanwhile, the tribunal recorded cross-examination of Abdur Razzaque Khan, 18th prosecution witness and investigation officer of the case against Muhammad Kamaruzzaman.

Defence counsel Kafil Uddin Chowdhury cross-examined Razzaque for one and a quarter hours and asked him around 15 questions, mostly on prosecution documents.

The tribunal adjourned the case proceeding until today when Razzaque is set to face further cross-examination.

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