Bangladesh’s first war crimes tribunal has sent Jamaat-e-Islami leader AKM Yusuf to jail hours after he was arrested in a case that charges him with crimes against humanity during the Liberation War of 1971.
Yusuf was produced at the chamber of International Crimes
Tribunal-1 Chairman Justice ATM Fazle Kabir in Sunday afternoon, who ordered his
detention pending trial.
Tribunal prosecutor Syed Haider Ali said Yusuf’s
lawyers had filed a bail petition and the judge had set Monday for hearing the
Around noon, the tribunal took into cognisance the charges against
Yusuf and ordered he be produced to court by May 26.
afterwards, Rapid Action Battelion (RAB) nabbed the Jamaat leader from his
residence ‘Golap Villa’ in Dhanmondi 10/A of the capital.
Yusuf was taken
to the tribunal after 4pm. After keeping him inside the tribunal prison for some
time, the judge sent him to Dhaka Central Jail at around 4:45pm.
lawyer Saifur Rahman complained that law enforcers had arrested his client
before arrest orders reached them. “This is unfair.”
The prosecution had
submitted the charges at the ICT registrar’s office on May 5.
On Apr 22,
a probe panel of the prosecution filed the report accusing Yusuf of involvement
in crimes against humanity during the war on 15 counts including mass murder,
rape, arson and loot.
Probe coordinator Hannan Khan had said they found
evidence that the Razakars under Yusuf's command were involved in killing almost
There were also evidence against Yusuf of looting and setting
fire to 300 houses, 400 shops and of forcibly converting 200 Hindus, he
Yusuf was a member of the so-called Malek Cabinet, a dummy
government formed by Pakistan during the Liberation War. He was also Jamaat’s
acting chief for some time.
In charge of public works, power, revenue and
irrigation in the infamous Malek cabinet, Yusuf joined Jamaat-e-Islami in 1952
and became the Khulna’s regional head within five years.
nominated as the joint secretary of Jamaat’s East Pakistan unit and became the
party’s deputy chief in 1971.
Investigation Officer Helal Uddin said that
Yusuf was the one who coined the term ‘Razakar’ for the support forces raised to
collaborate with Pakistan during that time.
Investigation regarding the
matter began on Jan 22 last year.
That revealed that Yousuf, Jamaat’s
head of Khulna region and a former MP, had trained 96 Jamaat activists as
Razakars in Khulna’s paramilitary camps.
The vigilante militia group
Razakar — which has become synonymous with ‘collaborator’ in Bengali — supported
the war effort of the Pakistani military junta during the 1971 Liberation War
and committed widespread crimes against humanity.
It was Yusuf, Jamaat’s
head of Khulna region, and the party’s provincial joint secretary, who trained
96 Jamaat men as Razakars in Khulna’s paramilitary camp. He also led all the
anti-liberation war forces including the infamous Peace Committee, Razakars, Al
Badr and Al Shams in the region.
The charges against him mentioned that
he was in a superior position with command responsibility and assisted the
Pakistani forces by giving directives and suggestions.
officials said Yusuf was both directly and indirectly involved in genocide,
murder, rape, loot and arson that took place in different areas of Khulna during
After the war, Yousuf was sentenced to life imprisonment under
the 1972 Collaborator’s Order but was released from jail on Dec 5, 1973 after
the then government announced general pardon.