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Freedom in the air

War Crime

STRAIGHT LINE

Behind the reverent veneer

IN recent times, the nation has witnessed animated debates and discussions about the procedural deficits and even the very maintainability of the trial of persons for crimes against humanity in 1971. The sight of very old bearded persons, some hobbling, apparently with an ecclesiastical appearance, facing the rigours of trials for a long time, has even evoked sympathy in some hearts. Some younger folks, particularly women, unaware of the atrocities committed by a section of the Bengali population on...

Justice done

Justice done

The prosecution said justice was done through yesterday's verdict to those who had sacrificed their lives for independence in 1971, while the defence said the judgment on Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali was based on fabricated testimonies.  The international Crimes Tribunal-2 handed down the capital punishment on Quasem on two of the 14 charges brought against him.  His counsels said they would appeal against the ruling in the Supreme Court, terming the trial baseless. Prosecutor Sultan Mahmud said, "The nation came out of the culture of impunity. It has been established that a criminal, no matter who he is or how powerful he is, will be punished for his crimes. There is...

Relief, as it was just rumour

Relief, as it was just rumour

Even minutes before the court started proceedings yesterday, rumours hanged thick in the air about the possibility of lesser punishment for war criminal Mir Quasem Ali who had allegedly spent millions of US dollars to lobby against the International Crimes Tribunal. This worried Sumi Khan, daughter of Saifuddin Khan, a freedom fighter who was...

Terror was reborn

Though his crimes have finally caught up with him, war criminal Mir Quasem Ali in the last four decades established himself as a top businessman in Bangladesh.           He emerged as a leading business tycoon of the very country, the birth of which he vehemently opposed in 1971. Quasem not only dodged the trial for the crimes he committed during the nine-month-long Liberation War, but also reorganised anti-liberation elements following the political changeover in August 1975. It was under his leadership that...

Silent witness still there

Silent witness still there

The bloodstains in the three-storey building have long disappeared. Shrieks of torture victims are no longer heard there. But the Mahamaya Dalim Bhaban at Anderkilla, Chittagong still stands as a reminder of the brutal torture of freedom fighters and pro-liberation people 43 years ago. Every inch of the building evokes the memory of the heinous...

Hartal this Week

Only day left is Wednesday

The first day of second spell of hartal, enforced by the Jamaat-e-Islami, passed almost in a relaxed manner yesterday, but uncertainty loomed large on the fate of 21 lakh JSC and JDC students due to frequent shifting of dates of their exams. The fresh announcement of a 24-hour hartal on Thursday has dealt a further blow to the students as the exam schedule on that day is likely to be deferred like the last two exams. The Jamaat-e-Islami called the countrywide...

Up in the sky boy can now smile

Up in the sky boy can now smile

It was around noon on November 28, 1971. Several people were held captive at a room of Dalim Hotel, torture camp of notorious Al-Badr Bahini, in Chittagong town. Suddenly, the room's door was flung open. Three to four men rushed in carrying a person on their shoulders. They threw him on the floor. “As the...

$25m helped, not that much

$25m helped, not that much

Seven months after the international crimes tribunal was set up for trying war criminals, Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali schemed to foil the trial by playing his trump card: Money. In October 2010, Quasem struck a $25 million deal with one of the most influential US lobby firms, Cassidy & Associates, for engaging with the US government and the Bangladesh government “to protect his interest”. A Washington-based journalist found the amount “huge” given it was paid by an individual, although lobbying is legal in the US. The journalist told The Daily Star the contract violated the US law, as the firm did not inform the US government that it was representing a...

DEATH for Jamaat's 'moneyman'

DEATH for Jamaat's 'moneyman'

It was a “death factory” in 1971. Perhaps no other phrase can better describe the horrors that unfolded in Al-Badr's Chittagong headquarters, where the militiamen would torture and kill freedom fighters and pro-liberation activists hauled up from across the region. The harrowing tales of brutalities committed there 43 years ago still haunt many in the...

Why acquitted of 8 charges

The International Crimes Tribunal-1 cleared Jamaat Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami from eight charges, including of genocide, conspiracy of and incitement to killings, thanks to lack of evidence. A total of 16 charges for wartime offences were framed against Nizami. "The accused is held not guilty of the offences of 'genocide' and 'crimes against humanity [killing, conspiracy and incitement]' and be acquitted of the said eight charges”, the verdict reads. Out of the eight charges, four were brought against the war criminal for...

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