Jamaat leader Kashem held | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 18, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 18, 2012

War Crimes '71

Jamaat leader Kashem held


Mir Kashem Ali

Less than two hours after International Crimes Tribunal-1 issued an arrest warrant against Jamaat leader Mir Kashem Ali, he was arrested at a newspaper office in Dhaka yesterday in connection with war crimes and taken to the tribunal.
The tribunal later sent him to jail with a custodial warrant and fixed today for hearing what the defence has to say about the arrest.
Detective Branch of Police personnel, aided by Rapid Action Battalion, arrested him at the office of Bangla daily Naya Diganta at Motijheel around 3:40pm, said Masudur Rahman, additional deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
After the arrest, Kashem, chairman of Diganta Media Corporation, was brought to the cell of the tribunal around 4:10pm. He was sent to jail from there around 6:50pm. He was not produced before the court.
Tajul Islam, a counsel for Kashem, said his defence would appeal for bail.
Earlier in the day, Prosecutor Rana Dasgupta appealed to the tribunal for an arrest order against Kashem and said he had been “threatening witnesses” and that he was a flight risk.
Rana told the three-member tribunal, led by Justice Md Nizamul Huq, that Jamaat leader Kashem was the chief of Chittagong Al-Badr unit during the Liberation War. Al-Badr was one of the forces created to help the Pakistani occupation army and oppose the pro-liberation forces during the war.
During the war, Al-Badr used Mohamaya Dalim Hotel, Kayum Hotel and Goods Hill as its torture cells.
Around noon on November 19, 1971, Kashem took three people to the Mohamaya Dalim Hotel and tortured them, said Rana. One of them was given electric shocks which destroyed his reproductive capability for ever.
Two days later, Al-Badr brought in another person, with his hands and legs tied, from Kadamtali of Chittagong.
“Kashem had asked the victims to call back the freedom fighters from the war or else he would torture him,” said Rana. The victim did not comply and he had to go through horrendous torture.
The prosecutor during the proceedings yesterday did not mention any names of the victims, just their initials.
He said through collaborating with the Pakistani army, the Al-Badr killed many and turned many places of Chittagong, including Gahira, Jogotmondalpara, Foy's Lake, Halishahar, Dampara and Unosotturpara into killing fields.
He told the tribunal that Kashem, being a member of the Central Executive Council of the Jamaat-e-Islami, led a propaganda campaign in the UK and the Middle East to foil the ongoing trial of war criminals.
He said Kashem was a highly influential person and he was mounting pressure on witnesses and had threatened them with life if they gave statements to the investigation officer of the case against him.
He said most of his victims were still alive.
As Rana tried to elaborate more on Kashem's alleged crimes, the tribunal stopped him and said it did not need to hear more to issue an order.
The tribunal around 2:30pm passed the order to arrest and produce him before the court within 24 hours of arrest.
Mir Kashem, 63, son of late Taib Ali, lives in Mirpur. He lived in Harirampur of Manikganj in Chittagong in 1971. He was known as Mintu then. In his youth, he was an activist of the Islami Chhatra Sangha, the then student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami.
Six top Jamaat leaders--Ghulam Azam, Matiur Rahman Nizami, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, Ali Ahsan Mojaheed, Kamaruzzaman and Quader Mollah--and two BNP leaders--Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Abdul Alim--are now being tried before the tribunals.

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