A Convicted killer, Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, who was awarded to death sentence by the International Crimes Tribunal-2, Bangladesh on 3rd November, 2013 was seen attending a meeting at House of Commons last week. Our ICRF correspondent confirmed the news from London.
Ajanta Deb Roy, an Activist from a London based pressure group called “Extradiate Chowdhury Mueen Uddin” expressed her feeelings in a facebook photo post. She wrote-
“What a Disgrace !!!!!! Shame on you UK !! How can a convicted killer like Chowdhury Mueen Uddin enter house of commons ???Not a security Risk???”
“Only and only the capital punishment can reinforce the expectations of the nation and the relatives of the murdered intellectuals who sustained untold sufferings and trauma for the systematic and organised extermination of illustrious intellectuals,” observed a special war crimes tribunal”
The observations came on 3rd November 2013, as the International Crimes Tribunal-2 handed down death penalty to Al-Badr leaders Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan for carrying out “unheard of extermination committed in execution of designed murderous scheme”.
The court found them guilty on all 11 charges relating to the killing of 18 intellectuals — nine teachers of Dhaka University, six journalists and three.
The court described how the former ICS leaders had abducted and killed the 18 intellectuals between December 11 and 15 in 1971. The martyred intellectuals are DU teachers Prof Mofazzal Haider Choudhury, Prof Munier Chowdhury, Prof Giasuddin Ahmed, Prof Serajul Haque Khan, Dr Abul Khayer, Dr Faizul Mohiuddin, Prof Rashidul Hasan, Prof Anwar Pasha, and Prof Santosh Chandra Bhattacharyya, journalists Serajuddin Hossain, Syed Najmul Haque, ANM Golam Mostafa, Nizam Uddin Ahmed, Selina Pervin, Shahidullah Kaiser, and physicians Fazle Rabbee, Alim Chaudhury and Mohammad Martuza.
The intellectuals’ lustrous nationalism and pro-liberation ideology made them the targets of the killing squad. But nothing could deter them from carrying out their duties, said the court. They ignored imminent danger during the Liberation War and contributed by their righteous activities, it added. They could have played a big part in building a new-born nation. But the killing of the intellectuals caused incalculable loss to the country, said the tribunal. As the convicted persons are absconding, the sentence will be executed after their arrest or surrender to the tribunal, it said. According to the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973, any war crimes convict can challenge the ICT verdict at the Supreme Court in 30 days from its pronouncement. With the conviction of Mueen and Ashraf, 10 people have been sentenced so far for crimes against humanity and genocide committed in 1971.
This is the second war crimes case in which the accused were tried in absentia. In the first case, the tribunal awarded capital punishment to expelled Jamaat member Abul Kalam Azad, also known as Bachchu Razakar, who is on the run.
The tribunal was highly critical of the regimes of Ziaur Rahman and HM Ershad. It said instead of punishing Mueen, both the military dictators allowed him to visit his village home in Feni under police protection. “What a shame! This fact indubitably shakes and debases the nation. It increases the trauma sustained by the victims’ family …,” it said.
The court criticised HM Ershad for making Maulana Mannan, an alleged organiser of the Al-Badr, a member of the cabinet. Mannan had a suspicious role in the abduction of Dr Alim Chaudhury.
Charge 1: On instructions of Mueen and Ashraf, some seven to eight armed Al-Badr men abducted and brought Serajuddin Hossain, the then executive editor of Ittefaq, to an unknown place by a minibus and killed him early hours of December 11, 1971.
Charge 2: A gang 8-10 armed Al-Badr men led by Mueen and Ashraf abducted Syed Nazmul Haque, chief reporter of PPI, at gunpoint from his Purana Paltan residence and killed him around the same time.
Charge 3: A group of five to six Al-Badr men on instructions of the duo abducted ANM Golam Mostafa, a journalist of daily Purbadesh, from his Gopibagh residence and killed him at an unknown location in the morning of December 11.
Charge 4: On instructions of the duo some armed Al-Badr men abducted Nizam Uddin Ahmed, the then general manager of PPI, from his Kalta Bazar residence and killed him at an unknown place around noon of December 12.
Their bodies were never found.
Charge 5: Al-Badr men led by Mueen and Ashraf abducted Selina Parveen, editor of weekly Shilalipi, from her New Circular Road at gunpoint on December 13. Later, her body was recovered from the mass grave at Rayerbazar.
Charge 6: Mueen and Ashraf led a gang of Al-Badr men to abduct Giasuddin Ahmed, Serajul Haque Khan, Abul Khayer, Faizul Mohiuddin, Rashidul Hasan, Anwar Pasha, Santosh Chandra Bhattacharyya and Mohammad Martuza from their residences on the Dhaka University campus and killed them on December 14.
The bodies of Giasuddin, Martuza, Khayer, Rashidul, Anwar and Santosh were later found at Mirpur mass grave.
Charge 7: Armed Al-Badr men led by the duo abducted Mofazzal Haider Chowdhury from his brother’s house at Shantibagh on December 14. Mofazzal could identify Mueen, who was his student. But Mofazzal was still taken to an unknown place and killed. His body was never found.
Charge 8: On instructions of the duo a gang of three to four Al-Badr men abducted Prof Munier Chowdhury from his Central Road house on December 14 and killed him at an unknown place. His body too could not be found.
Charge 9: Mueen and Ashraf led a gang of Al-Badr to abduct Shahidullah Kaiser, the then joint editor of daily Sangbad, from his Kayettuli house on December 14 and killed him. His body could not be found.
Charge 10: Armed Al-Badr led by the duo abducted Fazle Rabbee, a professor of Clinical Medicine & Cardiology of Dhaka Medical College, from his Siddeswari house on December 15 and killed him at Rayerbazar mass grave. His body was recovered from the mass grave.
Charge 11: On instructions of the duo, a gang picked up Dr Alim Chowdhury from his Purana Paltan residence at gunpoint on December 15. Blindfolded, his body was later found together with numerous martyrs at Rayerbazar.
The tribunal in its verdict said all the events were sequenced together and were outcome of an organised plan carried out by the squad of Al-Badr in a similar pattern using the same vehicle.
The last but not least, the tribunal in its observation said the bereaved families of martyred intellectuals started a new battle for survival, even after the war ended. Despite untold pains and hurdles, the widows of the martyrs brought up their children properly.
“They are great mothers indeed and [they]deserve due state acknowledgement.”
CHOWDHURY MUEEN UDDIN’S ROLE IN BANGLADESH GENOCIDE:
In March 1971, Chowdhury Mueenuddin, a journalist at the Daily Purbodesh, was an active member of the Islami Chaatra Sangha (ICS) – the student wing of the Jammat-e-Islami which actively opposed Bangladesh liberation war and aided the Pakistani military. In August 1971, the Jamaat-e-Islami, according to its own newspaper the Daily Sangram, set up the Al-Badr Squad comprising members of the ICS to violently combat the forces supporting Bangladesh’s liberation. Mueenuddin became a member of the Al-Badr.
In 1995, in a Channel 4 documentary(6), researchers presented a series of evidence and eyewitnesses that directly implicated Chowdhury Mueenuddin as the leader of the gang in at least two disappearances and killings, and one attempted disappearance. Abduction and disappearance of Mofazzal Haider Chaudhury, Dhaka University Professor of Bengali. A family member present at the scene states: “they stormed into the house brandishing guns and with gamchas over their faces. While being taken away, [Prof Chaudhury] pulled down the gamcha from one of the men’s faces, I recognised him immediately. It was Mueenuddin; I knew him because he used to come to our house to study.”
Abduction and disappearance of Serajuddin Hossain, Journalist Serajuddin Hossain’s wife identified Chowdhury Mueenuddin as one of the men who took her husband.Attempted Abduction of Ataus Samad, BBC Journalist It is known that Mueenuddin was involved in attempting to abduct BBC journalist Ataus Samad. Two tenants were woken up by a gang of men and saw the faces of the leader. After independence, when a photograph of Mueenuddin’s face was published they both recognised him as the man leading the abductions, that night.
Case Filed in Bangladesh with subsequent case statements by the intelligence agency:Farida Banu, younger sister of Professor Giasuddin Ahmed, filed a case in this connection with Ramna Police Station in Bangladesh on September 24, 1997 against two Al-Badr cadres–Chowdhury Mueenuddin and Ashrafuzzaman–for killing her brother on December 14 in 1971, resulting in a police investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The investigation report named Mueenuddin as one of the prime accused in relation to abduction and disappearance of eight Dhaka University professors on that night including Prof Ahmed. According to the case statement, on 14 December 1971, Al-Badr members Mueenuddin and Ashrafuzzaman picked up Giasuddin Ahmed from Muhsin Hall premises, blindfolded him and whisked him in a microbus to an undisclosed location. He never came back.
Newspaper reports immediately after the intellectual killings naming Mueenuddin as the prime suspect based on confessions by captured Al-Badr leaders.Bangladesh Observer reported on December 29th, 1971, “Chowdhury Mainuddin, a member of the banned fanatic Jamaat-e-Islami, has been described as the “operation-in-charge” of the killing of intellectuals in Dhaka by Abdul Khaleq, a captured ring leader of the Al-Badr and office bearer of the Jamaat-e-Islami.”
New York Times reports on 2 January 2 1972 – “to his fellow reporters on the Bengali-language paper where he worked, Chowdhury Mueenuddin was a pleasant, well-mannered and intelligent young man…there was nothing exceptional about him except perhaps that he often received telephone calls from the leader of a right-wing Moslem political party. But, investigations in the last few days show that those calls were significant. For Mr. Mueenuddin has been identified as the head of a secret, commando like organization of fanatic Moslems that murdered several hundred prominent Bengali professors, doctors, lawyer and journalists in a Dhaka brick yard. Dressed in black sweaters and khaki pants, members of the group, known as Al-Badar, rounded up their victims on the last three nights of the war…Their goal, captured members have since said, was to wipe out all Bengali intellectuals who advocated independence from Pakistan and the creation a of a secular, non Moslem state.”
Mueenuddin’s Post Independence Rehabilitation in the United Kingdom
Soon after the war, Mueenuddins’s involvement in the intellectual killings came to light and several newspapers including the New York Times published articles alleging that he was the Operation-in-Charge of the killings. Although the authorities sought Mueenuddin’s arrest in connection with these allegations, he however managed to evade arrest and investigation, and travelled to the UK where he ultimately obtained residence and nationality without disclosing his past antecedents. Once in London, along with other members of the Jamaat-e-Islami who had escaped to London, he set up the Dawatul Islam which was in effect the UK front of the Jamaat. A split subsequently took place amongst the leadership of Dawatul Islam, and Mueenuddin then established Islamic Forum Europe, which continues to be the UK front of the Jamaat-e-Islami. As recently as November, 2007, Islamic Forum Europe invited the head of Jamaat-e-Islami, Matiur Rahman Nizami, another alleged war criminal, from Bangladesh to their events as special guests. Mueenuddin’s base was however East London Mosque – and he became its Vice Chairman in the 1990s. Till this day he is Vice-Chair of this mosque. Mueenuddin also became active as Treasurer (former Chairman) of Muslim Aid UK, Deputy Director of Leicester based Islamic Foundation; and the Special Editor of Weekly Dawat. Chowdhury Mueenuddin’s rehabilitation continued as Government decided to engage with Muslim Council of Britain in the name of engaging with Muslims.
News Source: The Daily Star & Fact sheet on Chowdhury ueen Uddin by Bangladesh Genocide Archive & ICR Foundation’s Correspondent from House of commons