The second witness of the prosecution Shahidul Haque Mama yesterday told the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) that poet Meherunnesa and her family members were brutally killed on the orders of war crimes accused Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah.
While being cross-examined by the defence counsel, Haque, also a freedom fighter in the 1971 war, told the tribunal that atrocities like killings, lootings and arson were carried out in Mirpur and Mohammadpur area in Dhaka city during the Liberation War at the directives of Mollah, the then leader of Islami Chhatra Sangha, student front of the Jamaat-e-Islami.
Mama, leader of Mama Bahini (a guerilla group), said he deposited his arms with the authorities on the call of the country’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after Bangladesh got independence.
The wartime guerrilla leader said the Jamaat leader was in Dhaka from March 7, 1971 to January 31 of 1972.
“He campaigned for (Jamaat guru) Ghulam Azam in Duari Para, Muslim Bazar, Mirpur-12, 1 and Pallabi area in 1970. I saw him numerous times then,” the witness said.
Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, chairman of the three-member panel of ICT-2, adjourned the hearing till July 17 as the defence counsel finished cross- examining the second prosecution witness.
The tribunal will record depositions of two women witnesses of the prosecution on that day. A camera trial will be held where journalists and general people will not be allowed.
But three lawyers from the prosecution and three from the defence will be present during the proceedings and have give an “undertaken” that they will not disclose the identities of the witnesses and their statements.
On May 28, the tribunal indicted the Jamaat-e-Islami’s assistant secretary general on six counts of crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War.
The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-1 yesterday rejected a petition of Jamaat-e-Islami nayeb-e- ameer Delwar Hossain Sayeedi seeking review of its order on accepting testimony of 15 prosecution witnesses as deposition against the Jamaat leader.
On March 29, the tribunal accepted the testimony that was recorded by the investigation officer as deposition against the Jamaat leader following a plea from the prosecution despite the fact that witnesses did not physically appear in the court to give testimony.
Justice Nizamul Huq, chairman of the two-member panel of ICT- 1, today rejected the review petition in its order saying there are many examples of accepting testimony that was given to the investigation officer as deposition against an accused.
“The tribunal hereby rejects the petition finding no substantial merit in the petition,” the order said.
After the order Advocate Mizanul Islam, counsel for Sayeedi, cross- examined M Helaluddin, investigation officer (IO) of the case for the 29th day.
The IO gave his deposition against Sayeedi for nine days starting from April 8.
Delwar Hossain Sayeedi was arrested on June 29 last year from his Dhaka residence. He was later charged for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971.
The investigation agency submitted reports before the tribunal on July 11 and the tribunal took cognizance of 20 specific charges against Sayeedi on July 14.
Recording of the depositions of the witnesses was initiated on December 7.
Home Minister Sahara Khatun yesterday formally inaugurated the ‘Kashimpur High Security Central Jail’ in Gazipur district north of the Bangladesh capital. It is the country’s first world-class high-security prison,
It is built on 10 acres of land in Kashimpur area of Gazipur district and cost 750mn taka. It will house 1,000 top criminals, including Islamist militants and extremists. It incorporates the latest technologies and security devices like cellphone jammers, cameras and metal detectors.
The facility was developed to accommodate under trial and convicted militants and extremists, top gangsters and hardened criminals considered a threat to national security and public life.