The International Crimes Tribunal-1 yesterday framed five charges against former Jatiya Party lawmaker Abdul Jabbar for his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity committed during the country's Liberation War in 1971.
Jabbar, who was chairman of Mathbaria Peace Committee in Pirojpur in 1971, has been charged with murder, mass killing, looting and forced conversion committed during the war.
After framing the charges, the tribunal fixed September 7 for starting the trial with opening statements and examination of prosecution witnesses.
The accused had allegedly played a key role in the formation of Razakar Bhahini and had led the force in committing crimes in Mathbaria.
Chairman of the three-member tribunal Justice M Enayetur Rahim said they went through the formal charge, evidence and documents and found strong prima facie case against Jabbar.
The tribunal chairman then read out the charges.
According to the indictment order, Jabbar along with his accomplices forcefully converted 200 Hindus of Phuljhuri to Islam in the last week of May 1971.
On October 6, 1971, Jabbar and his cohorts detained 37 people of Angulkata and Mothbaria villages, said Justice Rahim. Of them, 22 were later killed and others injured.
Jabbar abetted and facilitated the killing of two freedom fighters of Phuljhuri, he added. He was also involved in the killing of one person and setting fire to 360 houses of the same village.
Besides, Jabbar was charged for his involvement in the killing of 11 people, and looting of and setting fire to 60 houses at Noli village of Pirojpur.
Accused in a case under collaborators' act, he went into hiding after the war and remained a fugitive till the political changeover of August 15, 1975. Jabbar then became active in politics and was elected lawmaker from Mathbaria in 1986 and 1988 with Jatiya Party ticket.
Family members of the martyrs of 1971, freedom fighters and locals of Mathbaria protested when he was given grand alliance ticket for the 2008 election.
Jabbar has been on the run since 2009, according to the war crimes investigation agency.
Both prosecutor Zahid Imam and state appointed defence counsel Mohammd Abul Hasan were present at the court room when the charges were framed against Jabbar.
The prosecution on May 11 submitted formal charges against Jabbar.
Meanwhile, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 yesterday heard the closing arguments from the defence counsels of former state minister Syed Mohammad Qaisar for the sixth day.
Qaisar's lawyer SM Shahjahan placed arguments on one charge before the three-member tribunal led by Justice Obaidul Hassan.
The case proceeding was adjourned until Monday.
Qaisar, the alleged founder of anti-liberation Qaisar Bahini, faces 16 charges, including genocide committed in Habiganj and Brahmanbaria during the Liberation War in 1971. He, however, pleaded not guilty before the tribunal.