Tight security around ICT

Security has been beefed up around the Old High Court Building area ahead of the first verdict of the International Crimes Tribunal on Monday.

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 20 Jan 2013, 11:13 PM
Updated : 20 Jan 2013, 11:13 PM

The ICT-2, headed by Justice Obaidul Hasan, is scheduled to deliver the verdict on former Jamaat-e-Islami activist Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu Razakar for committing war crimes during the 1971 Liberation War.

Azad had been absconding since the beginning of trial against him. He is accused of eight charges.

A member of an investigation body, probing the charges, said there was evidence of genocide, murder, rape, arson, loot, abduction, deportation and persecution against Azad.

Tight security has been put in place in and around the tribunal. Police and RAB personnel are on the alert alongwith a bomb squad of the detective Branch.

Police officials said security has been beefed up across capital Dhaka, specially at key points of the city.

Nine top Jamaat leaders are now facing trial at the ICTs on war crime charges.

Azad has been absconding despite public notices seeking his appearance before the tribunal. The court decided to hold his trial in absentia on Oct 7 after he had failed to appear.

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.

The second war crimes tribunal acknowledged charges against Abul Kalam Azad and ordered him arrested and produced by Sept 23 last year.

Azad's war crimes investigation began on Apr 10, 2011 and a 384-page report was handed over to the prosecution.

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 committed many more that could not be established.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher