Verdict today in Jessore war crimes case
The International Crimes Tribunal-1 is set to deliver verdict today in a case against nine Jessore men, including former Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP lawmaker Shakhawat Hossain, in connection with crimes committed during the Liberation War.
The three-member tribunal headed by Justice Anwarul Haque with members Justice Md Shahinur Islam and Justice Md Shohrowardi fixed the date 26 days after it had completed trial of the case.
Earlier on July 14, the tribunal kept the case waiting for delivering judgment.
The accused are facing five charges of crimes including killing and rape.
Wrapping up their closing arguments, the prosecution prayed for capital punishment of the accused saying all five charges have been proved. On the other side, the defence prayed for acquittal of their clients saying the prosecution failed to prove a single charge.
All the accused hailed from Keshabpur upazila in Jessore. Apart from Shakhawat, who is now involved with Jatiya Party, Billal Hossain Biswas is also behind bars. Another accused Lutfar Morol died of old age complications in May this year.
The other accused -- Ibrahim Hossain, Mujibur Rahman, Kazi Ohidul Islam, Aziz Sardar, Aziz Sardar and Abdul Khaleq Morol -- are on the run.
The prosecution on July 26 last year pressed charges against 12 people over the killing of two persons, rape of one and torture on two others in the Bangla month of Ashwin (between mid-September and mid-October) during the war in 1971.
The tribunal accepted charges against nine on September 8 last year and cleared the other three. The court on December 23 framed five charges against the nine and the prosecution produced 17 witnesses, including two investigation officers. The defence declined to produce any witness.
Shakhawat was a central committee member of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the then student wing of Jamaat, and a commander of Razakar force at Chingra Bazar camp. The others were members of the Pakistani occupation army's auxiliary force, according to the prosecution.
According to the first charge, Ibrahim and the two Aziz along with 10-12 Razakars picked up a woman of Boga, who was a source of freedom fighters, at Shakhawat's directive on Ashwin 27 and detained her at Chingri Bazar camp for three days. Shakhawat allegedly tortured and raped the woman there.
One day in the middle of Bangla month Shraban, Shakhawat along with 25-30 Razakars convened a meeting where he delivered an inciting speech to kill supporters and activists of Awami League and the pro-liberation people, the second charge reads.
On Ashwin 28, Shakhawat accompanied by eight other accused and several other Razakars caught local AL leader Chadtullo Gazi and kept him detained at the Razakar camp for four days. He was later shot dead on the bank of the Kapatakkha river, the charge added.
The third charge says on Ashwin 25, around 10-12 Razakars, including Mujibur, Ibrahim and Khaleque, at Shakhawat's instruction picked up Nur Uddin Morol around 7:00am and brutally tortured him at the Razakar camp. He, however, was released later after giving a bond.
According to the fourth charge, on a late Ashwin night, Razakars of Chingri Bazar camp picked up a source of freedom fighter Malek Sardar from his house and tortured him at a torture camp. He was later shot dead by Shakhawat around 8:00am on Ashwin 28 near the ferry ghat of Chingri Bazar and his body was thrown into the river.
At the beginning of Ashwin, Razakars, upon receiving Shakhawat's instruction, went to capture freedom fighter Miron Sheikh around 10:00am. When Miron tried to escape, Razakars shot him and took him to Chingri Bazar camp. As a result of brutal torture, the victim became crippled and Razakars threw him into the river thinking him dead, the last charge says.
The tribunal yesterday sent four Mymensingh men, who were allegedly involved in war crimes, to jail after police had produced them before the court.
The accused are Abdur Rahim, 66, and Jalal Uddin, 70, of Mymensingh Sadar and Abdus Salam, 68, and Suruj Ali Fakir of Muktagachha upazila.
The police arrested the four on Monday hours after the tribunal had issued an arrest warrant for six accused.
Another accused, Joynuddin Faruki, 66, who was arrested at Debiganj upazila in Panchagarh, would be produced later through a Panchagarh court, prosecutor Abul Kalam said.
The sixth accused is on the run, he added.
The tribunal fixed October 20 for passing the next order in the case.