Wrapping up its closing arguments in the war crimes case against Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, the prosecution yesterday sought capital punishment for the accused.
“Nothing but the death penalty would be appropriate for such a devil [Mojaheed],” Prosecutor Tureen Afroz told the International Crimes Tribunal-2 at the end of the prosecution arguments.
The three-member tribunal led by Justice Obaidul Hassan with members Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Judge Md Shahinur Islam fixed May 22 for hearing the defence's closing arguments.
The prosecution would get their chance to reply if they feel it necessary after the defence's closing arguments.
The tribunal, as per relevant laws, would set a date for delivering a verdict in the case after hearing closing arguments by both the prosecution and the defence.
Mojaheed, a former technocrat minister of the last BNP-led four-party alliance government, was indicted on seven charges, which include murders, genocide and conspiracy to kill intellectuals during the Liberation War in 1971.
On the fourth day's arguments by the prosecution, Tureen Afroz yesterday focused on law points, especially on how Mojaheed held “superior responsibility” on the infamous Al-Badr force.
According to the prosecution, Al-Badr was formed with only the members of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the then student wing of Jamaat. Mojaheed as the president of the student wing was also made chief of Al-Badr, which was specially responsible for the killings of intellectuals during the war.
Tureen said to show one's “superior responsibility” there should be a superior-subordinate relationship and the superior should have “effective control” over their subordinates.
Besides, a superior might incur responsibility only after having failed to take “necessary and reasonable measures” to prevent or punish a crime committed by subordinates, she said, claiming Mojaheed had “effective control” over Al-Badr men and failed to prevent and punish his subordinates.
To substantiate her claim, Tureen read out a report of the Daily Bhorer Kagoj, which quoted a report of the Daily Sangram published on April 24, 1971. The Sangram report says the Al-Badr force was formed in greater Mymensingh on April 22, 1971.
The report further says Mojaheed addressed a meeting of Jamaat and Chhatra Sangha men in Mymensingh on April 22, 1971 where he said, “Al-Badr is a name, a surprise. Al-Badr is a promise. Wherever the so-called freedom fighters are, Al-Badr will be there. Al-Badr will work as Azrail [angel of death] for the freedom-fighters-slash-Indian-agents.”
Citing from a witness' account, which was incorporated in the book “Ekattarer Ghatak O Dalalra Ke Kothai”, also a prosecution document, Tureen gave a heart-wrenching description of a killing field where the bodies of intellectuals killed by Al-Badr men had been dumped.
Tureen said Al-Badr led by Mojaheed had “played the role of Azrail” during the nine-month-long war and the killing of the intellectuals was a part of the atrocities committed by them.
On their first day's arguments, the prosecution showed a photo published by the daily Azad on December 11, 1971 with the caption “Al-Badr chief Mojahidi [Mojaheed] addresses a street rally organised by Al-Badr [on Baitul Mukarram mosque premises] yesterday where he uttered caution against people spreading rumours”.
Citing from the “Fortnightly Secret Report on the Situation in East Pakistan”, the prosecution said Mojaheed travelled across the country and delivered speeches to instigate his followers to kill pro-liberation people and loot their establishments.
Tureen yesterday quoted a speech of Mojaheed from the book titled “Al-Badr” written by Pakistani national Salim Mansur Khalid in 1985. The book is written in Urdu and the prosecution have submitted its Bangla translation as their document.
Mojaheed, also president of East Pakistani Islami Chhatra Sangha at the time, addressed Al-Badr men at their headquarters (Mohammadpur Physical Training Centre) even two hours before the surrender of the Pakistan army on December 16, 1971.
Quoting from the book, Tureen said after his speech, when Mojaheed's accomplices had asked him to leave the camp first, Mojaheed rejected the idea saying he would be the last man at the camp.
“When everyone insisted on (Mojaheed's) departure, Nazem [president] said, 'Friends, being compelled, I am ordering [you] to leave for Hijrat' and all mujahids set out for unknown paths,” Tureen quoted the book.
When the tribunal asked about the sources of the book, Tureen from the book said, “The memorable speech was described by Al-Badr soldiers present [at the meeting] there. The speaker has endorsed the words and sentences.”
From Mojaheed's speech and his activities after the speech it was very much evident that he had effective control over the Al-Badr militias, she added.
Terming Mojaheed as a “villain of history”, Tureen said, “Nothing but the death penalty will be appropriate for such a devil.”