Al-Badr leader Khalilur Rahman sentenced to death for war crimes in Netrokona

Khalilur, a fugitive, was found guilty on multiple charges, including murder and rape

Published : 13 Sept 2022, 05:02 AM
Updated : 13 Sept 2022, 05:02 AM

A tribunal has sentenced Khalilur Rahman, a commander of the anti-liberation Al-Badr force, to death for crimes against humanity in Netrokona during the Liberation War in 1971.

A three-member panel of the International Crimes Tribunal led by Justice Md Shahinur Islam delivered the verdict on Tuesday.

Khalilur, a fugitive, faced five charges relating to war crimes, including the murders of 22 people and the rape of a woman. He was found guilty on all charges.

Rana Dasgupta and Rezia Sultana Chaman conducted the prosecution while state-appointed lawyer Gazi MH Tamim represented the accused.

The judges read out a summary of the 255-page verdict and said the "brutal and horrific" charges against Khalilur had been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Reacting to the verdict, prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon said the tribunal handed down the death penalty on four charges and 10 years' imprisonment on the other.

On the steps being taken to arrest the fugitive convict, he added, “An arrest warrant was issued by the tribunal but the police weren't able to take effective action to execute it. A new warrant of arrest will be issued today. After that, the police must take appropriate action."

An investigation into allegations of war crimes against Khalilur and his associates was launched in April 2015. In April 2016, the tribunal issued arrest warrants for the accused.

The investigation report in the case was filed on Jan 30, 2017. At the time, there were five accused, but one of them, Ramzan Ali, died during treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Later in May 2017, the prosecution pressed charges against the accused and the trial commenced in Mar 2018 after their indictment.

After hearing the arguments of both sides, the case was put on hold for further deliberation pending judgment on Jul 18.

The three other suspects were Khalilur's brother Azizur Rahman, Ashok Ali and Md Shahnewaz.

But they died in prison at various points of the trial proceedings. As a result, Khalilur was the only one to face judgment.

The charges against Khalilur included mass killings, murder, rape, abduction and torture, and looting and arson in Durgapur and Kalmakanda.

In 1971, Khalilur was a member of the Islami Chhatra Sangha, which later came to be known as Islami Chhatra Shibir - the student affiliate of Jamaat-e-Islami. He later joined Al-Badr and became a commander of the paramilitary force in Chandigar Union.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher