A special tribunal in Dhaka today concluded hearing arguments in war crimes case against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali and may deliver its verdict any day.
Quasem, 61, a member of Jamaat's executive council, is facing 14 charges for his alleged involvement in murder, torture, abduction, confinement of people and complicity committed during the country’s Liberation War in 1971.
After hearing closing arguments, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 led by its Chairman Justice Obaidul Hassan said the case is kept on CAV [Curia Advisari Vult, a Latin legal term meaning verdict would be delivered anytime].
During the hearing, the prosecution sought death penalty for Quasem while defence prayed to the court for his acquittal of the charges.
The ICT-1 indicted Quasem on the 14 charges on September 5, 2013. But later, the case was shifted to the ICT-2.
The Jamaat leader is now remained behind the bar.
Born in Munsidangi Sutalori of Manikganj on December 31, 1952, Quasem became the general secretary of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the then student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, on November 7, 1971.
Chhatra Sangha members formed the Al-Badr force to collaborate with the Pakistani military to commit genocide and mass killing during the war, according to historical records and earlier tribunal verdicts. The charges say that Quasem had led members of the Al-Badr of Chittagong in 1971.
According to defence documents, Quasem is the chairman of Keari Ltd, a real estate and tourism company, chairman of the managing committee of Diganta Media Corporations, which owns now off-the-air Diganta TV and the Naya Diganta paper.
He is also a founding member of Ibn-Sina Trust, which owns several medical facilities and a pharmaceutical company, and a member secretary of Islami Bank Foundation and founding member of Islami Bank.
Quasem was indicted for crimes that were committed in November and December of 1971.
Two of the charges were related to Quasem’s reported involvement in the killing of eight people in Chittagong while the rest were based on his alleged involvement in abduction, confinement and torture of at least 27 people in Chittagong.
According to a charge, on Quasem’s directives, members of Al-Badr picked up freedom fighter Jasim and took him to “Dalim Hotel torture centre” at Andorkilla of Chittagong. Jasim was inhumanly tortured there.
“On your [Quasem's] orders member of Al-Badr killed Jasim on the rooftop of Dalim Hotel on November 28,” the tribunal chairman said reading out the charges to Quasem. Jasim’s body was thrown into the Karnaphuli river along with five other unidentified bodies.
The tribunal then read out another charge on the killing of Ranjit Das Prakash Latu and Tuntu Sen Prakash Raju.
The tribunal in the description of the incident said Jahangir Alam Chowdhury, Ranjit and Tuntu were abducted from Hazari Lane of Chittagong in November, 1971, on Quasem’s orders. They were tortured at the Dalim Hotel.
“On the following day, on your instruction, Jahangir Alam Chowdhury was set free but the other two were kept detained. Later, members of Al-Badr working for you killed them and hid the bodies,” said the tribunal.
The rest of the charges include abduction, confinement and torture of Omar-ul-Islam Chowdhury, Lutfar Rahman Faruk, Jahangir Alam Chowdhury, Saifuddin Khan, Abdul Jabbar Member, Harun-or-Rashid Khan, Sanaullah Chowdhury, Nurul Kuddus, Syed Md Emran, Jakaria, Sunil Kanti Bardhan Prakash Dulal and Nasiruddin Chowdhury and others.