Police detained a top Jamaat leader in Bera upazila of Pabna Tuesday night on charge of threatening war crimes witnesses.
The arrestee, Md Abul Baset Khan, 50, ameer of Bera upazila unit Jamaat, also one of the close aides of detained Jamaat chief Mawlana Motiur Rahman Nizami who is facing war crimes charges.
Acting on a tip off, Bera police raided Baset’s residence at Joradah Bazar in the upazila around 8:00pm on Tuesday and arrested him, said Md Jahangir Hossain, officer-in-charge (OC) of Bera Police Station.
Baset allegedly threatened witnesses in war crimes trial in Bera and Santhia upazilas of dire consequences if they testify before the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT).
“During primary inquiry, we found Baset guilty for misguiding the war crime witnesses,” the OC added.
According to Santhia Police Station, ICT recently issued notices to 30 war crimes witnesses in Santhia and Bera upazilas, to testify in Nizami’s case. After issuance of the notice, many of the witnesses were not found at their homes.
“After getting the notice, we managed to find 19 witnesses. Rest of them went missing,” the OC said.
“It has been learnt in primary investigation that the witnesses in Nizami’s case might have been forced or bribed for not giving their deposition,” he said, adding the police had taken measures to ensure the safety of the witnesses.