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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
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Azad's War Crimes

Prosecution claims to have enough proof

An investigator yesterday testified that he had found evidence of killings, genocide and other crimes committed by expelled Jamaat-e-Islami member Abul Kalam Azad in Faridpur during the Liberation War.

Noor Hossain, investigation officer and the last prosecution witness in the case against Azad, also known as Bachchu Razakar, said all government documents related to the Liberation War in Faridpur were destroyed in a “planned way” after August 15, 1975.

Noor told the International Crimes Tribunal-2 Azad along with Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, the then president of Islami Chhatra Sangha, student wing of Jamaat, used to conduct political activities in Faridpur in 1970.

The three-member tribunal headed by Justice Obaidul Hassan with members Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Judge M Shahinur Islam recorded Noor's testimony before adjourning the case proceeding until today when he is set to face cross-examination.

The tribunal indicted Azad with eight charges of crimes against humanity on November 4 and has been holding his trial in absentia as he is on the run. Apart from Noor, 21 prosecution witnesses including a seizure list witness testified in the case.

During his two-hour testimony, Noor, a police inspector, said as part of investigation he had visited the crime spots in Faridpur, interrogated the persons concerned and recorded their statements.

He had even visited India to record statements of some victims, said Noor, adding that he had recorded statements of 55 people as witnesses in the case.

The witnesses' statements and evidence show Azad being an active accomplice of Pakistani army was directly involved in killings, genocide and other crimes in Faridpur and its neighbouring areas, he added.

First Azad was a volunteer Razakar. Then he became a Razakar and afterwards he became the Al-Badr commander of Faridpur, Noor added.

He said Azad was a first year student at Faridpur Rajendra College in 1970, adding that he had learned that Azad as a member of Jamaat-e-Islami along with Chhatra Sangha leader Mojaheed held several processions and meetings in Faridpur and neighbouring areas in support of the then Pakistani government.

During his investigation, Noor tried to get information and documents from the deputy commissioner of Faridpur about the “incidents” done by the Pakistani army and their local collaborators Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams and the persons involved in the incidents.

“He [the DC] said all the information and documents from 1971 to August 15, 1975 were destroyed in a planned way after August 15, 1975,” added Noor.

He said during investigation he, however, seized some documents, which were sent by the deputy commissioner of Faridpur to the investigation agency in 2010.

Noor Hossain told The Daily Star Faridpur district administration prepared the report after field level investigation in different parts of the district.

As per the documents, Noor told the tribunal at least 94 people were killed in Boalmari upazila and another 103 in Nagarkanda upazila during the war.

“There was a list of Razakar and Al-Badr members of Faridpur in the report and on the list, Azad alias Bachchu's name was put on top as the chief of Faridpur district Al-Badr,” said Noor.

A list of the district committees of the then Faridpur Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Sangha was incorporated with the documents, said Noor, adding that names of Azad and Mojaheed were mentioned on the list.

Noor said as he had found evidence of crimes against humanity committed by Azad, he, through the chief prosecutor, sought arrest warrant against Azad. But the accused fled immediately before the tribunal issued an arrest warrant against him.

Meanwhile, the prosecution yesterday continued placing arguments in the war crimes case against Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah for the second day.

Mohammad Ali, the conducting prosecutor of the case, placed his argument on the charge number one citing testimony of the second prosecution witness Syed Shahidul Haque Mama.

On May 28, the tribunal indicted the Jamaat assistant secretary general for six specific charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the war.

According to the first charge, Quader Mollah and his cohorts killed Bangla College student Pallab in 1971.

Ali cited a part of Shahidul's testimony where he had described the morning of March 26 in 1971. Shahidul had seen houses of Bangalees in Mirpur burning and Biharis celebrating. When Shahidul and his friend Mantu went closer, Quader Mollah and his accomplices tried to catch them.

But they escaped by swimming across the Turag river and took shelter in Bangaon village, Ali quoted Shahidul as saying.

Shahidul's testimony proved that Quader Mollah was in Dhaka during the Liberation War, Ali added.

Quader Mollah, as the first defence witness in his case, claimed he had left Dhaka on March 11 or 12 in 1971 for his village and three other defence witnesses also testified that the Jamaat leader spent the rest of 1971 and almost entire 1972 in Faridpur.

The tribunal recorded the prosecution's argument for an hour as senior defence counsels were not present yesterday “due to hartal”.

The argument is set to resume today.

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