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Lawrence Lifschultz

Rashomon and the murder of Major General Abul Manzur, Bir Uttam

Rashomon and the murder of Major General Abul Manzur, Bir Uttam

IN this second series of articles on the Manzur case which we have just published, the affidavits taken in 1995 of several soldiers and police officials have been described and reviewed. The historical context in which these affidavits came into being under the auspices of Attorney General Aminul Haque and the CID were also examined. As noted at the outset of this article, the most important similarity between our February reporting and this article is that each account indicates the involvement of senior military officers in a “Special Operation”...

Rashomon and the murder of Major General Abul Manzur, Bir Uttam

Rashomon and the murder of Major General Abul Manzur, Bir Uttam

(iv) Charges and threats On June 27, 1995, Abdul Kahar Akand, Assistant Superintendent of Police of the Criminal Investigation Department filed charges against General H.M. Ershad and four others. They were Major (Rtd) Kazi Emdadul Haque (aka Captain Emdad), Lt. Colonel (Rtd) Mostafa Kamaluddin Bhuyain (aka Major Kamal), Major General (Rtd) Abdul Latif and Lt. Colonel (Rtd) Shamsur Rahman Shams. Major General Abdul Latif was included among those charged based apparently on the testimony given to the CID by the Deputy Police Commissioner at the Headquarters of the Chittagong Metropolitan Police in 1981.  In his testimony to the CID, Deputy Police Commissioner stated the following:  “. . .We were informed that General...

Rashomon and the murder of Major General Abul Manzur, Bir Uttam

Rashomon and the murder of Major General Abul Manzur, Bir Uttam

(i)    The Manzur documents At the end of February 2014, a four-part article written by this author was published simultaneously in Prothom Alo & The Daily Star between February 22 and 25. It concerned the murder of Major General Abul Manzur on the night of June 1, 1981 while in custody of the Bangladesh Army inside the Chittagong Cantonment.   On the eve of going to press with the series Prothom Alo came into possession of certain documents that raised new and troubling questions about the murder of General Manzur.   My colleagues and I needed time to verify the authenticity of these documents, carefully study their contents and establish the historical...

GROUND REALITIES

Murder most foul . . .

Murder most foul . . .

LAWRENCE Lifschultz's reflections on the murder of Major General Mohammad Abul Manzur in June 1981 are, for the nation's political leadership as also for the people of Bangladesh, a broad hint that all past conspiracies should be investigated in their totality and the truth behind them revealed. The good part of our otherwise sad post-1975 history is that a beginning has been made, through bringing the assassins of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to justice. The process of a fresh new judicial look at the jail killings of November 1975 is also underway. All of which is a breath of fresh air, for they point to the slow climb back...

The murder of Major General Abul Manzur, Bir Uttam

The murder of Major General Abul Manzur, Bir Uttam

IN the years that followed General Ershad and his associates would articulate several variations on the theme of “angry troops”, “agitated soldiers”, “angry men” or  “enraged people” being responsible for Manzur's death.   In early February 2014 the news service, BDnew24 quoted Ershad as saying during a court appearance: “Angry men were trying to snatch Manzur when he was brought to the Chittagong Cantonment. The scuffle led security guards to open fire. Abul Manzur was shot and injured at one point and died while he was being taken to the hospital.” A colleague of Ershad's, Lt. Col. Mostafa Kamal told a court in 2013: “Some enraged people tried to snatch Manzoor...

The murder of Major General Abul Manzur, Bir Uttam

The murder of Major General Abul Manzur, Bir Uttam

SECURITY OF THE WITNESS I propose the following to the Court and Prosecution. On January 20, 2014, the British newspaper, The Guardian, published a report about a “defector” from Syria who had left the country with several flash drives containing 55,000 digital images of photographs that he and other government photographers had taken of approximately 11,000 detainees all of whom had been severely tortured and subsequently executed. He was a member of an official documentation unit within the Syrian military police tasked to prepare photographic dossiers of each victim. Three internationally renowned lawyers who served as lead prosecutors on UN war crimes tribunals related to Sierre Leone and the former Yugoslavia...

The murder of Major General Abul Manzur

The murder of Major General Abul Manzur

In early June 1981, three days after the assassination of General Ziaur Rahman, then President of Bangladesh, Major General Mohammed Abul Manzur was murdered while in Army custody inside the Chittagong Cantonment. The preponderance of evidence indicates that General Manzur was slain by a high-ranking military officer who was dispatched from Dhaka with one mission only: to assassinate Manzur. This is the conclusion of a long investigation by Lawrence Lifschultz that is based, in part, on the testimony of an eyewitness. The question now is will his killers finally be identified and put on trial thirty-three years after this distinguished veteran of the Liberation War was ruthlessly murdered. Lifschultz concludes that...

The murder of Major General Abul Manzur, Bir Uttam

The murder of Major General Abul Manzur, Bir Uttam

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” ~ Benjamin Franklin THE NARRATIVE On June 2, 1981, General Abul Manzur, the Commandant of the Chittagong Cantonment, was killed under mysterious circumstances while in army custody inside the Cantonment.  Manzur had distinguished himself as a Sector Commander during Bangladesh's Liberation War and been the recipient of the highest honor conveyed upon combatants of the war. He was among those honored few, who earned the distinction of Bir Uttam, Among those who knew him, Manzur was considered a highly capable and intelligent officer. Yet, in the chaotic days after General Ziaur Rahman's death on a...

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