WAR CRIMES TRIAL
Mojaheed indicted for genocide, crimes against humanityStaff Correspondent
The International Crimes Tribunal-2 on Thursday indicted the detained secretary general of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, on seven counts of genocide, killing of intellectuals and crimes against humanity which he allegedly committed during the War of Independence in 1971.
The tribunal set July 19 for beginning his formal trial with the prosecution making its opening statement and recording the depositions of prosecution witnesses.
The tribunal of Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, Justice Obaidul Hassan and Judge Md Shahinur Islam asked the defence counsel to submit by July 19 a list of defence witnesses, if any, along with the documents on which they intend to rely.
Mojaheed, the eighth man to face formal trial in a war crimes case in Bangladesh, was in the dock as the tribunal framed the charges against him.
Mojaheed was the Faridpur district president of Islami Chattra Sangha from 1968 to 1970, and after being admitted to Dhaka University in 1970 was nominated as Dhaka district ICS president. In the same year, in either August or September, he was assigned the responsibility of East Pakistan ICS and was finally elected provincial president of the organization in October 1971, and also became the chief of Al-Badr Bahini during the liberation war.
He contested the parliamentary elections in 1986, 1991, 1996 and 2008 but could not succeed even once, but he was the social welfare minister during the BNP-Jamaat alliance government from 2001 to 2006.
Mojaheed, swearing upon Allah, claimed that he was 100 per cent innocent and described the charges brought against him as false and politically motivated when the tribunal, after reading out the charges, asked him whether he would plead guilty.
He claimed that he never went into hiding and there was no General Diary or case against him in any place of the country, and that though he did not take part in the liberation war, he determined to serve the country since 16 December, 1971.
Mojaheed submitted that he was made accused in the case for three reasons — because he was involved in Islamic politics and the war crimes issue was made by those who cannot tolerate Islamic politics, as Jamaat was a strong democratic political party and he was its secretary general, and as ruling Awami League became angry as Jamaat joined the BNP-led alliance.
He submitted that he was a student in 1971 and was not considered a factor then, and there was no instance in the world that a student has become an accused in war crimes or crimes against humanity, and now it was clear that his present status had made him an accused.
Mojaheed also submitted that he engaged in Islamic politics to resist such crimes that go against humanity, and not only the Jamaat leadership but also any party member cannot be involved in such crimes. ‘If they had the bad habit, it could have happened even after 40 years as habit never changes.’
The tribunal indicted Mojaheed on two counts of genocide and five counts of crimes against humanity for killing several people, forcing deportation of a number of people, and for abduction, torture and arson during the liberation war.
Mojaheed faces the charge of genocide for allegedly killing 50/60 Hindus in Baidyadangi, Baladangi and Majhidangi in Faridpur in the middle of May 1971, and for frequently visiting the Mohammadpur Physical Training Camp where the Pakistani army set up a camp where he and his co-leaders, with intent to annihilate the freedom fighters, conspired with the senior army officers of the camp, which led to the killing of intellectuals from 10 December, 1971.
He faces the charge of allegedly killing Ittefaq’s executive editor Seraj Uddin Hossain, a member of the intellectual group, who was abducted by a group of seven to eight youths on 10 December, 1971 and was marked as an ‘agent of India’ in an article published in the Sangram in its 16 September, 1971 issue.
Besides, the charges include his orders to kill noted composer Altaf Mahmud, Shaheed Janani Jahanara Imam’s son Rumi, Jewel, Azad, Badi and Jahir Uddin Jalal on 30 August, 1971 at the army camp of old MP Hostel at Nakhalpara. The bodies of the above-mentioned victims were never found.
On 13 May, 1971 Mojaheed allegedly attended a meeting of the peace committee at Kahlilpur bazaar community centre in Faridpur at around 2:30pm, and at the end of the meeting he and his accomplices, at his direction, launched an attack on nearby village Bakchar, killing nine Hindus. The Razakars also raped a girl and compelled the villagers to go to India.
He allegedly directed his accomplices to confine and torture Ranjit Nath alias Babu Nath of Rothkhola in Faridpur, and freedom fighter Md Abu Yusuf Pakhi of Goalchamat Khoda Bakshpur in Faridpur in a bid to kill them.
Prior to framing the charges against Mojaheed, the tribunal on Thursday allowed two applications filed by the prosecution for inclusion of one charge in formal charges and seven more prosecution witnesses in the case.
The prosecution made the submission, pressing 34 counts of charges against Mojaheed, and the tribunal on January 26 took cognisance of the charges. His indictment hearing began on March 11 this year and ended on June 5.
On 28 December, 2011, the tribunal returned the formal charges, submitted against Mojaheed on 11 December, 2011, to the prosecution for a fresh submission of the charges against Mojaheed by January 16 in an organised manner and proper format.
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