Mir Quasem indicted on 14 countsStaff Correspondent
The International Crimes Tribunal on Thursday indicted Jamaat leader Mir Quasem Ali on 14 counts of 1971 crimes against humanity.
The accused faces the charges for allegedly committing the crimes in Chittagong during Liberation War in 1971.
Quasem was indicted for killings, abductions, confinement, torture in confinement, setting houses on fire, looting and other inhuman acts in the Chittagong region during the Liberation War.
Quasem faces command responsibility, the responsibility of a superior for actions committed by his subordinates in the Al Badr Bahini he created in the Chittagong region.
Quasem had the legal obligation to prevent his forces from committing, encouraging, or enabling others to commit the atrocities in Chittagong region.
He also bears personal responsibility for committing, planning, instigating, ordering or aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity in collaboration with the occupation army troops of Pakistan in 1971.
He is the 14th suspect to face trial on war crimes charges since Bangladesh clinched independence.
From the dock, 61-year old Quasem pleaded not guilty saying, ‘I am absolutely innocent.’
The presiding judge, Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, delivered the indictment order at a full court hearing, attended by Justice Jahangir Hossain and Justice Md Anwarul Haque.
Quasem’s trial begins on September 30 with the prosecution making its opening statement detailing the charges against him.
The examination of the prosecution witnesses would also begin on the first day in the ICT, better known as war crimes tribunal.
The examination of the prosecution witnesses would take place on every working day, the tribunal announced.
The tribunal directed Quasem’s lawyers to submit their list of defence witnesses, if any, and the documents on which they intend to rely upon, by September 20.
Prior to passing the indictment order, the tribunal rejected a defence plea seeking an adjournment for one day.
Quasem comes from Munshidangi Sutalori under Harirampur police station in Manikganj.
The war crimes accused was arrested on June 17, 2012 from the office of Bangla daily Naya Diganta at Motijheel in the city. The newspaper is owned by the accused. He is detained at Kashimpur Jail.
On May 16, the prosecution submitted the formal charges listing the crimes Quasem allegedly committed.
In 1967, Quasem, a student of Chittagong Collegiate School, joined Islami Chattra Sangha, the then student wing of Jamaat, the prosecution said.
Later, he was the president of Chittagong chapter of ICS until November 6, 1971, it said.
Subsequently, he became the general secretary of the East Pakistan unit of ICS, the indictment said.
In the Chittagong region, Quasem played a key role in the formation of the infamous Al-Badr Bahini, as an auxiliary force of Pakistan occupation army, the indictment said.
Quasem, in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army commanded the Razakar Bahini and the Al-Badr Bahin in opening several torture cells in the port city, according to the indictment.
Quasem faces the charges of abduction, confinement and torture of M Omar-ul-Islam on November 8, 1971 and for the abduction, confinement and torture of Lutfar Rahman Faruq on November 19, 1971.
He faces the charges of abducting, Jahangir Alam Chowdhury on November 22 or 23 and torturing him in confinement until December 16, abducting Saifuddin Khan on November 24, torturing him in confinement until the morning of December 17, abducting Abdul Jabbar Member on November 25 and torturing him in confinement until December 13, 1971.
He faces the charges of abducting Harun-or-Rashid on November 28, 1971 and torturing him in confinement until December 16, 1971, abducting M Sanaullah Chowdhury and two others on November 27, 1971 and torturing them in confinement until December 9, 1971, abducting Nurul Quddus and three others on November 29, 1971 and torturing them in confinement until December 16, 1971, abducting Syed M Emran and five others on November 29, 1971 and torturing them in confinement until December 16, 1971.
He faces the charge of abducting M Zakaria and three others on November 29, 1971 and torturing them in confinement until December 16, 1971.
Quasem faces the charge of abduction of six persons including Jasim and torturing them in confinement from the day of Eid-ul-Fitr in 1971 to November 28, 1971, subsequently killing them and concealing their bodies.
He faces the charge of abduction of Jahangir Alam Chowdhury, Tuntu Sen and Ranjit Das alias Latu and torturing them in confinement, looting and setting their houses on fire, later killing Ranjit and Tuntu in November 1971.
He faces the charge of abducting Sunil Kanti alias Dulal and Nasiruddin Chowdhury towards the end of November 1971 and torturing them in confinement until December 16, 1971.
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