A prosecution witness yesterday testified that the Pakistani army killed 11 people, including his brother, after Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdus Subhan, along with the army, took them away from their village in Pabna during the liberation war.
Akkas Sheikh, brother of one victim, Utken Sheikh of Pabna Sadar, told the International Crimes Tribunal-2 that he saw the Pakistani army killing one of the 11 following Subhan's order.
Akkas, the 16th prosecution witness in Subhan's case, vividly described how Subhan and the occupation army picked up the people, and Subhan's associates sorted out Awami League supporters before they were killed.
Subhan faces nine charges over crimes, including genocide, committed in Pabna in 1971. He, however, pleaded not guilty before court.
Akkas, during his 38-minute testimony, said on the morning of the fifth of Bangla month Jaistha, the Pakistani army, accompanied by Subhan, besieged their Bharara village.
“Moulana Subhan, along with the military men, picked up people from different homes of the village and took them in front of the Bharara Masjid,” said Akkas. “Moulana Subhan took away my brother Utken Sheikh from our home before my eyes to the mosque.”
Akkas also went to the mosque following his brother and found his maternal grandfather Khedan Sheikh, maternal uncle Kader Sheikh along with other detainees, said the 65-year-old witness.
On the mosque premises, Subhan read out the names of some detainees from a list and Subhan's cohorts separated them, the witness said.
“The name of Majid [Sheikh] was called thrice and he responded. Then Moulana Subhan ordered the Pakistani army to kill him and the troops shot him dead on the spot.”
Then the detainees were taken to the Nurpur Power Station military camp, and the next day, he heard that the 11 were taken to Debottar village, where the Pakistani army shot them, Akkas said.
Six detainees were killed on the spot while four died later, and one Siraj Sheikh was released as he was old, he said.
“As I asked Siraj about my brother, grandfather and maternal uncle, when he reached home, he told us that the Pakistani military gunned them down beside a bamboo bush in Debottar village.”
But Akkas said Utken Sheikh, another Siraj Sheikh, Taleb, Jabbar, Harun and Nurul Islam died on the spot, while Rustam Sheikh, Manik, Delbar and Akbar succumbed to injurers.
Akkas identified Subhan at the dock.
The three-member tribunal led by Justice Obaidul Hassan adjourned the proceedings till Sunday.
Meanwhile, war crimes investigation officer Helal Uddin yesterday interrogated war crimes suspect Abdul Latif Talukder at the investigation agency's safe home for about four and a half hours.
Latif admitted that he joined the Razakar, the auxiliary force to the Pakistani army, and took training at Khulna Ansar Camp during the liberation war.
Helal said he got some more important information but did not reveal it, as the probe against Latif, 68, was going on.
Latif was arrested at his house in Sholarkola village of Bagerhat's Kachua upazila on June 11 over his alleged involvement in killing 42 people in Shakharikathi village, and looting, torching shops on May 5, 1971.
“Apart from that, there is an allegation against him of forcibly converting 200 Hindus”, said Helal.