Sayedee looted houses in 1971, converted Hindus: WitnessWar Crimes Trial
Freedom fighter Ruhul Amin Nabin, the second prosecution witness, on Thursday testified that detained Jamaat nayeb-e-amir Delwar Hossain Sayedee, in connivance with his Razakar Bahini, had looted and torched houses, forced Hindus to convert Islam and helped Pakistani occupation troops rape women during the 1971 war of independence.
The International Crimes Tribunal adjourned the proceedings until December 11, after the 61-year freedom fighter completed his testimony.
Beginning on Wednesday, the ICT recorded depositions of two prosecution witnesses.
Popularly known as war crimes tribunal, the ICT was instituted for trying the accused of war crimes committed during the War of Independence.
The tribunal of Justice Nizamul Huq, Justice ATM Fazle Kabir and Judge AKM Zahir Ahmed recorded the deposition of the first prosecution witness, 60-year old
freedom fighter Mahbubul Alam Hawladar, on Wednesday.
Mahbub testified that he had witnessed Sayedee directly taking part in a number of the crimes or leading his men in committing the offences for which he has been charged.
The tribunal set December 11, for the defence counsels to cross-examine the two prosecution witnesses.
Sayedee, charged with genocide and crimes against humanity on 20 counts, was in the dock.
In his deposition, Ruhul said that Sayedee was known as Delwar Hossain Sikder during the Liberation War and after the independence, the freedom fighters had tried to arrest him, but he and several other members of the Razakar Bahini and Peace Committee members fled to evade arrest.
He repeated in greater detail and corroborated what the prosecution first witness Mahbub had told the tribunal. He also gave evidence of other offecnes of the accused.
He said that he saw Sayedee with looted goods and materials including corrugated iron sheets he had looted from the house of Madan Saha at Parerhat in June 1971.
Ruhul stated that Sayedee and members of Razakar Bahini, an auxiliary force Pakistani occupation army formed by Sayedee and others, had forced 50-60 members of the Hindu community to convert to Islam, wear the cap and offer prayers five times a day at mosque. Some of the fled and never returned and the others returned to their old faith after independence, he said.
He stated that Vanu Saha and Chhabi Roy, detained at Parerhat in Pirojpur by Sayedee and Razakars, were handed over to occupation army and raped by them. Vanu had been held for months and raped repeatedly, Ruhul added.
On Wednesday, the tribunal recorded the testimony of 60-year old freedom fighter Mahbubul Alam Howladar who put Sayedee in the spots of murder, loot and arson.
He put Sayedee at the spot where Peace Committee members greeted Pakistani troops in Parerhat on May 7, 1971.
Being asked by the tribunal Mahbub identified Sayedee. Pointing at the dock, he said, ‘Yes, there he is, sitting at the back.’
The tribunal chair instructed for the court to record that the accused has been identified.
The defence refused to begin its cross-examination immediately, saying that it was not prepared but relented upon the insistence of the tribunal.
Defence counsel Mizanul Islam pointed out that none from the prosecution had presented any of the exhibits that the witnesses mentioned were in the seizure lists.
Earlier, the court rejected two of the three petitions of the defence seeking disclosure of exculpatory evidence, documents and investigation reports and adjournment of the proceedings.
Prosecutor Syed Haider Ali opposed the defence applications moved by counsel M Tajul Islam, while another prosecutor Saidur Rahman conducted the testimony.