The second war crimes tribunal is set to deliver its verdict on a former Jamaat-e-Islami activist Abul Kalam Azad, accused of eight charges, on Monday.
Locally known as Bachchu Razakar, Azad remains in hiding despite public notices seeking his appearance before the tribunal. The court decided to hold his trial in absentia on Oct 7 after he failed to appear.
The tribunal registrar, Nasiruddin Mahmud, told journalists that Bachchu Razakar’s verdict would be delivered on Monday.
“The tribunal has instructed me to keep the case on tomorrow’s cause list. So the verdict is expected on Monday,” he said.
Abul Kalam Azad with his trademark coloured beard was better known for his popular television show on Islamic scriptures and practices .
After the war crimes trials started, he is said to have fled to Pakistan via Nepal.
Bachchu Razakar is said to have been an accomplice of Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed in Faridpur district during the 1971 Liberation War.
The Razakars were a band of vigilantes mobilised by the Jamaat during the war to support the Pakistani military and fight the pro-liberation forces.
Along with other militia groups like the Al Badr and the Al Shams, the Razakars were held responsible for large scale atrocities across Bangladesh amounting to war crimes.
Mujaheed is also facing war crimes charges at the second tribunal and his trial is underway.
The second war crimes tribunal acknowledged charges against Abul Kalam Azad and ordered him arrested and produced by Sept 23 last year.
Abul Kalam Azad's war crimes investigation began on Apr 10, 2011 and a 384-page report was handed over to the prosecution.
Sanaul Huq, a member of the investigation agency, told reporters that the two —Azad and Mujaheed — had been seen together at Faridpur Stadium and the Circuit House where witnesses said crimes against humanity were commited.
Huq said there was evidence of genocide, murder, rape, arson, loot, abduction, deportation and persecution against Azad.
Investigators claim to have identified 14 people murdered by Bachchu, three of whom were raped and nine of those who were abducted. The investigation agency also said that Bachchu had burnt down at least five houses, looted 15 and forced at least nine persons to convert to Islam.
According to the agency's 'fact sheet' on Bachchu Razakar, these were the crimes that have been confirmed , but he could have actually commit many more crimes that could not be established.
Expelled from the party as a full member of Jamaat-e-Islami, Bachchu was involved with its student wing, the Islami Chhatra Sangha.
But getting him extradited will not be easy even if the Interpol is persuaded to issue a red alert, because Bangladesh does not have an extradition treaty with any country except Thailand.