Saturday, April 16, 2011

27 Mar 2011: Alim arrest sought

Two prosecution applications were dealt with at this hearing. First an application for the arrest of Abdul Alim, a former BNP minister, and secondly an application to question Motiur Rahman Nizami, the ameer of the Jamaat-e-islami who is already in detention.

Application for arrest of Abdul Alim
Advocate Haider, on behalf of the prosecution argued that the Tribunal should issue a warrant of arrest from Alim. He read out from a report, prepared by the investigation agency. The main points that were stated in court are below:
The accused M A Alim is involved in the commission of all kinds of crimes against humanity during the period of the Liberation War. It is primarily found from the witnesses and evidences recovered in the investigation that accused Alim, being a leader of Muslim League in the region of Joypurhat under the district of Bogra, gave his active support in the commission of all kinds of activities and crimes, getting involved in the anti-liberation activities; giving his assistance to the collaborators of the invader army during the nine month tenure of the Liberation War.

It is also found during the investigation that, the accused joined in politics of the Muslim League in 1958. He was given the responsibility of divisional secretary of the organization in 1962. In 1964, he became chairman of the district council of grater Bogra region.

The accused being a local leader of The Muslim League, and taking his position against the Liberation War of Bangladesh, was appointed chairman of the Peace Committee (Shanti Committee); and with the help of the invading army, building a Peace Committee and a Rajakar Division, he committed various crimes involving killing, looting, raping, burning and destroying of houses, shops, banks etc.

Evidence shows that during the nine-month long Liberation War, the Peace Committee, and the Rajakar Division, under the leadership of Alim, brutally killed tens of thousands of peace-loving, unarmed, freedom-loving people of all ages under the direct or indirect supervision of the invading army in the border area of Joypurhaat. On 24 July 1971, the invading army, with the help of local Rajakars took Doctor Abul Kashem from his own residence and kept him in detention, and tortured him. When Abul Kashem was taken to the Peace Committee’s office, which was situated in the drawing room of Saonlal Bazla, an inhabitant of the locality, the members of the pakistan army detained and tortured him under the direction of Alim. Finally, killing him, they threw away the corpse in the sugar cane field on 26 July 1971.

The Pakistan-army captured another two persons along with freedom fighter Fazlu and took them to M A Aleem’s residence at C O office colony. Then Alim announced a death sentence on the three detained persons in presence of the villagers. He gave direction to kill the followers of ‘Joy Bangla’ (Bangabandhu). Later, those three so-called accused persons were killed, after keeping them detained to Alim’s house, in the slaughter house of Khnjanpur.

It is also found in the investigation that, Alim, founded a Rajakar recruitment camp in his own residence and maintained the responsibility of recruitment. It was under his direction that the Rajakars and the Pak-army, surrounding the Hindu inhabited area of Karaikadipur village, heinously killing about 165 innocent Hindus in the later part of April in 1971. After looting the houses, they burnt them.

In the later part of 1971, the Pakistan army took some 26 coachmen from the road to the residence of M A Aleem, where they were detained for some days, and the Pakistan army killed them in the slaughterhouse of Khanjanpur under the direction of Alim.

Besides, during the Liberation War the Rajakars and the Pakistan army conducted great violence against women; and it is proved that Abdul Alim publicly said that, “There is nothing wrong in violence against women by the army during a war”.

Abdul Aleem along with his supporters captured about 26 freedom fighters from the village of Mangalbari, blindfolded them and tied their hands behind the back and took them on a truck displaying them around the town; and Alim calling them the followers of India, ordered them to be killed in open daylight. And evidence shows that after killing some of them, they threw them in the well of Akkelpur Madrassa and killed the rest in Khanjanpur slaughterhouse, they threw away the dead bodies.

A picture of the destitute freedom fighters with tied up hands in front of a smiling Abdul Aleem as the chairman of the Peace Committee of Joypurhaat with Major Afzal of the Pakistan Army, the leader of the operation for the detention and killing of the freedom fighters, has been recovered during the investigation. Through it, it is proved that Alim was an active collaborator with the Pakistann army with all kinds of crimes committed against humanity.

In addition, evidence shows that, the accused M A Aleem, conducted propaganda with Major Afzal openly in various remote areas of Joypurhaat in various times saying that the Hindus are the enemy of the Muslims and declating the freedom fighter as miscreant fduring the Liberation War.

Evidence has been found against the defendant Alim Father-Late Abdul Wahed, Mother-Late Latifunnessa, Village-Joypurhaat Sadar Rasta, Police station and District Joypurhaat during the investigation of thee most barbarous genocide, destruction and crimes against humanity under section 3(2) of the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act, 1973.
Haider Ali for the prosecution, said 'This is fact. It has been uncovered in investigation, and we have the materials to prove it.'

He pointed to rule 9(1) of the ICT Rules of Procedure which allow the Tribunal to issue a warrant of arrest if is 'is necessary for effective and proper investigation'.

He argued that further investigation was not possible unless Alim was detained, as witness were already being intimidated.

Reading from his application, he said: 'There is more evidence against him which is being collected. As the defendant has so far not been arrested, many of the witnesses are scared. Defendant MA Aleem is a very influential, dangerous and mightily powerful person. At this stage, in order to ensure a fair and effective investigation, it is vital to arrest the defendant Abdul Aleem. It is also necessary to interrogate him after arrest.'

There was discussion between the Tribunal and Haider about Alim's age, and Haider said he was 80 or 81 year of age.

No lawyer for the defence was allowed by the Tribunal to make any representation on behalf of Alim. After a minute or two the Tribunal chair read out the following order:
'This is an application filed by the prosecution praying for the issuance of a warrant of arrest for the accused MA Alim, son of Md. Abdul Wahed of village Joypur, Shadar Road, under Joypurhat under rule 9(1) of the ICT rules of procedure 2010.

The court heard from the learned prosecution Syed Haider Ali and perused the application and the the report of the investigation submitted to the prosecution by the investigation agency.

In the application some facts have been brought alleging involvement of the accused in the commission of offences involving section 3(2) of the International Crimes Tribunal Act 1973. The learned prosecutor further submitted that they have got sufficient evidence against the accused.

It was further submitted that witnesses are now facing difficulties in giving their statements to the investigation authority and also are now terrorised thinking of further repercussion to them after becoming a witness in the case, and for that reason wants the issuance of a warrant of arrest for effective and proper investigation.

In the application, the age of the accused was stated as 80 years old. We have given our anxious consideration regarding submission of learned prosecutor and the age of the accused person.

Upon consideration of all the factors we are of the view that at this stage a warrant may be issued for the production of the accused.

In rules 34(1) of the ICT Rules of Procedure it have been clearly stated that police shall produce the arrested accused directly before this tribunal within 24 hours of arrest excepting the time needed for the journey.

Upon consideration of all the facts and rules we are directing the Inspector General of Police to arrest the accused person Mr Alim and the police are directed to comply with rule 34(1), and produce the accused before the Tribunal accordingly. On that date the Tribunal will issue further order.'
At this point, apparently the end of the order, Advocate Tajul Islam, for the defence got up and said that for the last year and a half, Alim has been under house arrest, and that he cant move and that arresting him in these circumstances would be 'degrading punishment for him'.

The Tribunal then added to its order the following:
'The authorities are directed to look after the health of the accused person when bringing him before the tribunal.

May a copy of the report submitted by the Investigation Agency be served along with the warrant to the accused person.'
Application for questioning of Nizami
Syed Rezaur Rahman, for the prosecution, got up and started to make an application seeking the custody of Motiur Rahman Nizami, who has been in detention since August 2010, so that he could be questioned.

However, very soon into the application, the Tribunal members asked a number of questions: 'Where will he be taken. Where can he stay? These things must be known by the Tribunal You have to place him in a good condition.'

The advocate then sought time to give a supplementary application.

The Tribunal passed an order adjourning the hearing until 5 April 2011.

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