Witness brings rape charge against Sayedee
Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee and collaborator Moslem Mawlana raped a Hindu girl (we are not disclosing her name on ethical grounds) over and over again at Parerhaat of Pirojpur during the Liberation War, a prosecution witness said.
Forth prosecution witness Sultan Ahmmed Hawlader yesterday said this in his deposition at the International Crimes Tribunal in the case filed against Sayedee in connection with crimes against humanity during the war in 1971.
Sultan, who was 20 years old during the Liberation War, told the court that the Jamaat leader and Moslem also forced the victim's family members including her father and brother to convert to Islam. They were later forced to pray in the mosque.
The girl and other rape victims left the country for India after the war and they never returned, he said.
The three-member tribunal headed by its chairman Justice Nizamul Huq recorded the witness' deposition yesterday after Sayedee's defence finished cross-examining third prosecution witness Mizanur Rahman Talukder.
Sayedee is among five Jamaat and two BNP leaders who are facing charges of crimes against humanity at the court. Nearly 30 lakh Bangalees were killed and two lakh Bangalee women were violated by the Pakistan occupation forces and their Bangladeshi collaborators during the nine-month-long Liberation War in 1971.
Recalling the events of the day, which he believes to be May 8, 1971, Sultan said he saw fire and heard screams and cries from his neighbour Manik Poshari's home.
“As I approached Manik Poshari's house, I saw flames in the houses of Manik Poshari, Raijuddin Poshari, Shaheeduddin Poshari and 15 to 20 other houses,” he said.
As he went near the houses, he saw Sayedee, Sikandar Sikder, Danesh Ali Mollah and Moslem Mawlana among other collaborators and Pakistani army personnel taking away Manik Poshari's cousin Mafiz and his employee Ibrahim towards Parerhaat. Both of them had been tied up.
Sultan and a few others discreetly followed them to Parerhaat. They saw Sayedee talking to some Pakistani soldiers. And all of a sudden, there was a deafening gunshot followed by a loud cry.
“The next day, we came to know that Ibrahim was shot and his body was thrown into the water and Mofiz was taken to a camp set up at Parerhaat,” Sultan told the court.
Manik Poshari of Chitholia village on August 12, 2009, filed a case against Sayedee and four others in connection with war crimes during 1971.
According to a report in The Daily Star, the case summery is that Sayedee and the other accused along with the Pakistani army stormed Poshari's house around 3:00pm on May 8, 1971. They looted the house and set it on fire. The collaborators also handed Poshari's caretaker Ibrahim over to the Pakistani army to have him killed. The Pakistani army personnel shot Ibrahim dead in Parerhaat.
“Delawar Hossain, also known as Sayedee, along with loyal collaborators continued committing the crimes including arson, killing, looting, abuse of women and handing over women to Pakistani army for rape,” Sultan said.
“I demand Sayedee's punishment.”
Unlike the other collaborator leaders of Pirojpur, Sayedee was fluent in Arabic and Urdu. This helped him maintain good communication with the Pakistani army and encouraged them in different misdeeds.
Sultan will face cross-examination from Sayedee's defence today as the court adjourned yesterday's session following a prayer from the defence.
Meanwhile, the tribunal directed the jail authorities to make arrangements for physiotherapy of Sayedee before he is brought to the tribunal. The court will, however, continue its proceedings as per schedule, 10:30am, even if Sayedee is absent.