A prosecution witness yesterday presented a newspaper report of 1971 to the International Crimes Tribunal-1, which shows how actively war crimes accused ATM Azharul Islam, a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, opposed Bangladesh's liberation.
The 18th prosecution witness, Assistant Librarian of Bangla Academy Azab Uddin Miah, also exhibited some other newspaper reports revealing the massacre led by the Pakistani army and its auxiliary forces in Rangpur in 1971.
One report headlined "Rangpur-e Dushkritikarider Haate Mesbahuddiner Shahadat" [Mesbahuddin Killed by Miscreants in Rangpur] was published on the third page of then Jamaat mouthpiece, the daily Sangram, on September 13, 1971 where Azharul threatened the supporters of independence.
Meshbahuddin had been a member of Islami Chhatra Sangha, Jamaat's then student wing.
The report reads Chhatra Sangha's Rangpur district unit President Azam Ali and city unit President Azharul Islam in a joint statement deeply mourned the death of "martyred Mesbahuddin". It also says "Indian agents" killed him.
Issuing a veiled threat in the statement, they said "miscreants" could not foil the victory of the Islamic movement by killing one or two Mujahids (fighters) like "martyred Mesbahuddin", according to the report. It adds that "Indian agents" could not attain their "ulterior motive" by carrying out atrocities.
During the liberation war in 1971, the anti-liberation elements described freedom seekers as "miscreants" and "Indian agents".
In the statement, they also opined that "miscreants" became active since they had been offered amnesty by the president, and they urged the then president of Pakistan not to show mercy to the "miscreants".
Defence counsel Abdus Subhan Tarafder cross-examined the witness.
Prosecutor Zead Al Malum sought 15 days' time from the tribunal for the preparation of the next witness SM Idris Ali, the investigation officer of the case.
The tribunal adjourned the proceeding until June 15.
Meanwhile, the tribunal-2 yesterday completed recording the cross-examination of Riaz Uddin Mandol, the ninth prosecution witness in the case against Jamaat leader Abdus Subhan.
Riaz, on Monday, testified that Subhan, along with his cohorts and the Pakistani army, tortured his brother and one of his brother's colleagues inside an army camp in Pabna in 1971.
The three-member tribunal led by Justice Obaidul Hassan adjourned the proceeding till tomorrow.