The two-time former Jamaat MP, best known in Bangladesh for his sermons, had stood up as soon as the judges had sentenced him to death.
The three-judge International Crimes Tribunal -1, set up to try crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War, found him guilty in eight of the 20 war crimes charges. He was sentenced to death for two murders.
Addressing the judges, Sayedee began to say, “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.
The most famous contemporary writer, Humayun Ahmed, died of cancer last year. Sayedee is alleged to have been involved with the murder of Humayun’s father Faizur Rahman Ahmed in Pirojpur during the war for being a liberation war supporter.
The Jamaat leader was, however, acquitted from the charge since the prosecution could not prove the allegation.
The 72-year Jamaat policymaker came into the court looking confident and craned his neck to be able to hear the judgement being read from the far end of the room from where he was sitting.
Sayedee, 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.
Razakar, Al Badr and Al Shams were vigilante militia groups responsible for widespread atrocities that amounted to war crimes. These groups were mobilised by Jamaat, its student wing and other right wing Islamist parties of the time through a social platform styled ‘Peace Committee’.
The verdict dwelt upon the question as to whether Sayedee was a Razakar and a member of the local Peace Committee in significant detail.
The judgement went through the statements of several witnesses and exhibits of the case and presented its analysis.