<i>30-yr-old Delu punished</i>
The International Crimes Tribunal-1 was trying 30-year-old Delu, a Razakar collaborating with the Pakistan occupation army during the Liberation War in 1971, not Allama Delawar Hossain Sayedee, a top Jamaat leader and two-time lawmaker.
Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, the tribunal chairman, emphasised this in his 10-minute introductory speech before delivering the judgment in a war crimes case against Sayedee yesterday.
With lawyers, journalists, observers, security personnel and staff in the courtroom and the people across the country eagerly waiting for the verdict, judges took seats at 11:11am. A minute ago, Sayedee was brought in the dock.
"I want to say something before pronouncing the verdict," the chairman said as pin-drop silence came over in the courtroom.
The accused is Delawar Hossain Sayedee. Thousands of people flock to his Waj Mahfil (gathering for religious sermons) across the country, Justice Kabir said.
"He [Sayedee] is not only a noted Maulana; he had also been an honourable member of parliament." Sayedee, also the nayeb-e-ameer of Jamaat, has a variety of identities, he added.
"Are we trying a noted Maulana?" the chairman posed a question.
"No," he himself replied.
"Are we trying Jamaat's nayeb-e-ameer?â€
"Are we trying a two-time member of parliament?â€
â€œThe answer is no," he said.
"Let us go 40 years back," he said, adding that the accused, then a youth of 30 years and the father of a son, lived in a village of Pirojpur.
Evidence shows Sayedee was an ordinary person in 1971, not a religious leader. â€œAccording to witnesses villagers called him Delu."
Being fluent in Urdu, Sayedee was on intimate terms with Pakistan army and involved in its operations during the nine-month war.
He was accused of murder, abduction, rape, looting, arson, conversion, torture, persecution and other crimes against humanity. "We are trying that 30 year old youth Sayedee," said Justice Kabir.
Also, the 120-page verdict read, "We should keep in mind an important aspect of the case that we are not holding the trial of an Ex-MP or nayeb-e-ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami named Allama Delowar Hossain Sayeedi [sic], a renowned Oazin who is popularly known as an Islamic orator throughout the country for his gift of the gab."
"From the evidence on record we have found that accused Delowar Hossain Sayeedi [sic] had a very low profile having no significant social or political status in the society.
A grocery shopkeeper who used to sell oil, salt, onion, pepper etc at Parerhat Bazar, he was from South Khali village under Indurkani/Zianagar Police Station of Pirojpur district. â€œHis financial condition was not good.â€
"This trial is being held against that Delowar Hossain Sayeedi for the commission of crimes against humanity alleged to have been committed by him about 41 years back at Parerhat area while he was a potential Razakar as well as member of local Peace Committee,â€ said in the judgment.
"The defence took a plea to the effect that there was a Razakar named Delowar Hossain Mollik who was killed after Liberation but prosecution with an ulterior motive, shifted the liability of that dead Delowar Mollik upon this present accused Delawar Hossain Sayeedi.â€
"In the above aspect, we find no substance because a good number of prosecution witnesses and the accused himself hail from the same locality who identified the accused in dock as the sole accused in this case and as such there is no confusion as to identity of the accused."
The judgment also said Sayedee welcomed the Pakistan army at Parerhat Bazar and formed Peace Committee. Subsequently as a member of Razakar Bahini, he actively participated in atrocities targeting civilians, Hindus and pro-liberation people.