The prosecution yesterday pressed five charges against 12 war crimes accused including former BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker Shakhawat Hossain for their alleged crimes against humanity committed in Jessore during the Liberation War.
They were allegedly involved in killing two persons, raping one and torturing two others in Keshabpur of Jessore. All the incidents took place in the Bangla month of Ashwin (between mid-September and mid-October) in 1971, according to the prosecution.
Prosecutors Zead Al Malum and Rezia Sultana Chaman submitted the charges to the International Crimes Tribunal-1 through its registrar's office and the tribunal fixed September 8 to decide whether to accept the charges.
All the accused hailed from Keshobpur. They are Shakhawat, now involved in Jatiya Party politics, Billal Hossain Biswa of Nehalpur, Akram Hossain of Bhalukghar Mollapara, Ajihar Morol of Chingra, Ibrahim Hossain of Nehalpur, Sheikh Md Mujibur Rahman and Kazi Ohidul Islam of Shekhpura, Aziz Sardar of Mominpur, Aziz Sardar of Boga, Lutfar Morol of Porchakra, Abdul Khaleq Morol of Altapol and Moshiar Rahman of Chingra.
Of them Shakhawat, Billal, Akram and Ajihar are behind bars, while the rest are on the run, according to the prosecution.
On June 15, the investigation agency of the tribunal said they had found “evidence” against the 12 of their “involvement” in crimes against humanity.
According to the agency, Shakhawat was a central committee member of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the then student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, and a commander of Pakistani army's auxiliary Razakar force at Chingra Bazar camp.
Law enforcers arrested Shakhawat at his Uttar Khan's house in the capital on November 29 last year. The other three were arrested on May 12 this year.
On June 18, the agency handed over the probe reports, statements of the witnesses and other documents to the prosecution, who pressed the charges yesterday.
TAHER AND NANI CASE
A prosecution witness yesterday testified that Razakars including Obaidul Haque Taher and Ataur Rahman Nani and Pakistani army detained and tortured him along with several others during the war.
Abdul Hannan Chowdhury of Purba Dattakhila village of Netrakona's Barhatta upazila said though he was released later, one Fazlur Rahman was tortured to death.
Hannan, also 12th prosecution witness in the case against Taher and Nani, said his father Sahabuddin Chowdhury and elder brother Abdul Khaleque Chowdhury were killed by Razakars in 1971.
He however did not name any Razakars, who killed his father and brother.
Hanna said Peace Committee and Razakar force were formed in Netrakona after the Pakistani army had entered the town in late April 1971. Taher and Nani shook hand with them, he added.
The Pakistani army and a group of Razakars including Taher and Nani attacked Boushi Bazar probably on August 17 and detained him, Fazlul Rahman, son of local Awami League leader, Abdul Hai and several others, said Hannan.
Razakars and the army tortured them. Though they released him and Abdul Hai later, they took Fazlur Rahman to Netrakona town and killed him through torture, said Hannan.
He further said his father was their union council chairman, who used to provide information to the freedom fighters and probably on November 4 Razakars detained his brother and took him to a local Razakar camp.
Hearing the incident, his father went to the camp and was detained and tortured by Razakars before he was shot dead near Trimohini Bridge that night, Hannan added.
Defence counsel Abdus Sobhan Tarafder completed his cross-examination before the three-member tribunal led by Justice M Enayetur Rahim adjourned the proceeding until today.
Taher and Nani face six charges. They however pleaded not guilty before the tribunal.