Delwar Hossain Sayedee appeared unruffled after he was brought to the court, but that began to change as the judges approached the final verdict on Thursday.
An expression of despair overshadowed the calm demeanour of the man better known as ‘Delu Razakar’ in his Parerhaat neighbourhood in south Pirojpur for his atrocities during the Liberation War.
Sayedee was brought from Dhaka Central Jail at 10am and kept at the International Crimes Tribunal’s lockup.
Arguably the most popular Jamaat leader remained there for more than an hour before he took the stand.
The 72-year-old sat on a chair, sometimes reading from a book to kill his time there. He was brought to the court room at 11:09am and made to sit at the stand.
At that point he looked composed in his cap and hennaed beard.
Sayedee was seated at the stand, at the back of the crowded courtroom when the Tribunal began to announce the verdict. He raised his head a bit and listened. He remained in that posture until it was almost 12pm.
Police at that time did not allow anyone to stand and block his view.
Sayedee was listening to his verdict from the start with rapt attention.
He, however, slouched back and began reading his Quran when the tribunal began reading out a part of the verdict relating to his being a Razakar.
At one point of the verdict it was said, “The prosecution was able to successfully prove that Delwar Hossain Sayedee was a member of the unit of Razakar in Pirojpur during the Liberation War of 1971”.
By then the clock had ticked past 12pm.
Sayedee’s face began to transform after hearing that part of the verdict. His face scorned with sadness. He took his eyes away from the judge delivering the verdict. His gaze implied a state of restlessness.
He remained like that until the end of the verdict and then he looked up after his sentence was announced.
At 2:25pm, Sayedee stood up and said, “You have not remained true to your conscience and oath.”
He said that the judges had only read out judgement that suited the demands of ‘a bunch of atheists and infidels at Shahbagh’. Sayedee continued to speak but the prosecution side of the courtroom ironically erupted with ‘Tui Razakar!’ — meaning ‘You are Razakar!’ — made famous in one of Humayun Ahmed’s landmark television drama serials.