“My joys know no bound. The rule of law has been established through the execution of the condemned war criminal. The long overdue execution has proved it again that his power and pelf is useless,” said Hasina Khatun, maternal cousin of teenager freedom fighter Jasimuddin who was tortured to death at an al-Badr camp led by Quasem, yesterday.
His body was later dumped in the Karnaphuli River. Quasem earned death for Jasim’s murder.
Quasem “substantially aided and abetted the Pakistani occupation forces in committing horrific atrocities” and actively participated in the killing of Jasim, the International Crimes Tribunal was heard.
Jahangir Chowdhury, a prosecution witness, said that the notorious war criminal should have been hanged several times for his atrocities in 1971. “He spent a lot of money to halt the trial, but in vain. His family members also tried to bribe me so that I do not testify at the court.”
The deputy chief of Joy Bangla Bahini in 1971, Jahangir was one of the victims subjected to inhuman torture by al-Badr members at Mahamaya Bhaban, later renamed as Dalim Hotel, on Nazir Ahmed Chowdhury Lane in Chittagong city’s Old Telegraph Road.
“I was held captive in a cramped room of the camp for 23 days before the freedom fighters rescued me on December 16,” Jahangir said.
Syed Md Emran, a group commander of Bangladesh Liberation Force (BLF), said that he had endured brutal torture at the camp from November 30 to December 16, 1971.
“During the confinement, I was kept blindfolded, and my arms and legs tied most of the time. They beat me up with sticks and electric wire to glean information about the freedom fighters. Mir Quasem used to control the camp and he himself interrogated me during my confinement,” said Emran, who testified at the tribunal.
Veteran journalist and freedom fighter Nasir Uddin Chowdhury also recounted the horrific incidents of the torture he endured at Dalim Hotel.
Prof Dr Irshad Kamal Khan, former vice-chancellor of Chittagong Independent University, told the Dhaka Tribune that the captives had been kept blindfolded and arms and legs tied.
“We were served meal once a day. We used to hear groans and screams coming from different rooms of the torture cell at different times of the day,” he said.
Dr Mahfizur Rahman, an eminent researcher of the Liberation War, said that apart from Dalim Hotel, there were many more makeshift torture camps including Islamia Hotel in Nandan Kanon area, Salma Manjil in Panchlaish area, Dost Mohammad Building in Chamrar Gudam area and Dewan Hotel in Dewanhat area in the city.
“During the war, the notorious war criminal established a reign a terror in Chittagong in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation forces,” he added.
Born in Manikganj, Quasem joined the Islami Chhatra Sangha in 1967 when he was studying at Chittagong Collegiate School. Later, he became the president of its Chittagong city unit. On November 6, 1971, he became the general secretary of East Pakistan unit.
He went into hiding after the independence but resumed politics after the assassination of father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He became Chhatra Sangha’s president in 1977 and joined Jamaat-e-Islami in 1980.
Quasem was finally arrested on June 17, 2012.