Mahidur Rahman, Afsar Hossain to spend life in jail for war crimes

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The International Crimes Tribunal-2 Chairman Justice Obaidul Hassan delivered the judgment on Wednesday where it found them guilty of killing, abduction and torture.

The tribunal’s other two judges Justices Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Md Sahinur Islam were present when the verdict was read out.

The prosecution had brought three charges against them for crimes against humanity committed in 1971.

The tribunal’s judges unanimously awarded the duo imprisonment until death on the first charge.

On the second charge, the verdict, which was maintained by majority, ordered five years prison term.

The third charge was dropped as the duo had already been sentenced under the 1972 Collaborators Act on the same charge.

The 133-page verdict further observed that the investigators inefficiency was manifested while investigating the third charge.

Mahidur, Afsar – Razakars of 1971

Mohammad Mahidur Rahman is 84 now. He is the son of Subedar Ali Biswas of Dadanchak village in the Durlabhpur Union under the Shibganj Upazila of Chapainawabganj.

According to information given to the tribunal by the prosecution, he had studied up to Class-IX.

The investigation report filed in the case says Mahidur, who has a son and four daughters, was a farmer in 1971 and an active Muslim League worker.

During the 1971 Liberation War, he openly opposed Bangladesh’s independence movement and went on to join the local Peace Committee and the Razakars.

According to the chargesheet, he used to live in the Razakar camp during the Liberation War and indulge in killings, loot and torture in nearby places with the help of the Pakistan army.

Afsar Hossain, alias Chutu, now 65, is the son of Qutub Mondal of Satrasia village of Binodpur Union in Shibganj.

He studied up to Class-V, and has two sons and two daughters.

He was also a farmer and a Muslim League activist.

He too joined the Peace Committee and Razakars after the Liberation War began.

Case history

A case was started in Chapainawabganj in 2013, accusing Mahidur Rahman and Afsar Hossain of a massacre at the Binodpur School ground and adjoining places.

The case was initiated by Badiur Rahman Buddhu, a member of a family affected by the slaughter. The case was later shifted to the tribunal.

The prosecution investigation into the charges against the two began on Feb 11 last year. The investigators filed a 956-page report at the end of the probe.

Mahidur and Afsar were arrested from the Durlabhpur Union and Binodpur respectively on Sep 15, 2014.

The two were formally charged at the International Crimes Tribunal on Nov 16 the same year.

The deposition of witnesses had begun on Jan 12.

Ten prosecution witnesses including the investigating officer Z M Altafur had deposed before the tribunal.

However, there was none to stand witness for the accused.

After hearing both sides, the court ended the trial on Apr 22 but withheld the verdict.

18th verdict

The trial of war criminals had started after formation of the International Crimes Tribunal on Mar 25, 2010 with the Awami League in power.

The first verdict, on Jan 21, 2013, sentenced Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu Razakar to death. As an absconder, he forfeited his right to appeal.

In the next verdict, on Jan 5, Jamaat-e-Islami Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Molla was sentenced to life imprisonment.

But the penalty disappointed many, prompting thousands of people to demonstrate at Shahbagh, demanding capital punishment for Molla.

With the movement spreading across the country like wildfire, the government was forced to amend the tribunal law, giving both sides the right to appeal.

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court issued the final verdict, changing Molla’s life imprisonment to death penalty.

The tribunal’s third verdict, delivered on Feb 28, 2013, sentenced Jamaat Nayeb-e-Amir, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, to death, triggering widespread violence in Jamaat strongholds.

Sayedee appealed against the verdict, and the Supreme Court reduced his sentence from death to a life in jail.

In its fourth verdict, on May 9, 2013, the tribunal sentenced to death another Jamaat Assistant Secretary General, Mohammad Kamaruzzaman.

His death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court on Nov 3, 2014 and he was hanged on Apr 11 this year.

On Jun 15, 2013, the tribunal, in its fifth verdict, sentenced Jamaat Amir Golam Azam to 90 years in prison for plotting, planning and instigating war crimes.

He had appealed against the sentence but died when the appeal was still being heard.

On Jul 17, 2013, the tribunal sentenced Jamaat Secretary General Ali Hasan Mohammad Mujahid to death for war crimes.

That year, on Oct 1, the tribunal delivered its seventh verdict, sentencing BNP Standing Committee member and Chittagong MP Salauddin Quader Chowdhury to death.

He has appealed against the verdict.

On Oct 9, 2013, former BNP minister Abdul Alim was awarded a prison term until death. The war crimes convict died at the age of 83 while serving his term.

Two Al-Badr leaders, Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, were sentenced to death on Nov 3, 2013 for the masscre of intellectuals during the Liberation War.

The tenth verdict was delivered on Oct 29, 2014. Al-Badr chief in 1971, Motiur Rahman Nizami, was awarded the death penalty. The tribunal said the Jamaat chief had wilfully misused Islam in his professed attempt to destroy the Bengali nation.

In the eleventh verdict on Nov 2, 2014, Al Badr commander of Chittagong, Mir Quasem Ali, was sentenced to death. He was believed to be the Jamaat’s main fundraiser.

The next man to get the death sentence was Razakar commander of Faridpur, Zahid Hossain Khokon. His verdict was read out on Nov 13.

Expelled Awami League leader and Brahmanbaria Razakar commander Mobarak Hossain was sentenced to death on Nov 24.

On Dec 23, Syed Mohammad Kaiser, a state minister in HM Ershad’s cabinet and a Muslim League leader in Habibganj in 1971, was also awarded the death penalty.

Next, Jamaat Assistant Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam was given the death sentence on Dec 30.

In the first verdict delivered this year, senior Jamaat leader Abdus Subhan was given the highest punishment.

In its seventeenth verdict, delivered on Feb 23, former Jatiya Party Vice Chairman Abdul Jabbar was given the death sentence. Jabbar is absconding.

News Source: bdnews24.com

 

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