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Dhaka Tribune

Probe agency collects info on POWs as well

Update : 27 Dec 2015, 07:42 PM

Alongside gathering information on local war criminals, the investigation agency of the war crimes tribunal has also been digging information on the 195 Pakistani prisoners of war whenever and wherever possible.

The agency is now waiting for the right environment and higher authorities’ nod for starting investigation against prisoners of war (POWs).

Abdul Hannan Khan, coordinator of the agency, yesterday said that they need the government’s directives before starting investigation because another country (Pakistan) is involved with this.

He made the remarks at a press conference organised to announce that they had found evidence of war crimes against eight Gaibandha fugitives accused in two war crimes cases.

He also said that the agency thought that the civil society’s demand for trying the 195 Pakistani POWs for their 1971 crimes was rational.

Under the tripartite Simla Agreement of 1974 signed among Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, 195 members of the Pakistan army, who were prisoners of war in 1971, were repatriated.

In that agreement, Pakistan assured trial of the 195 senior Pakistani army officials who committed crimes against humanity in Bangladesh during the 1971 Liberation War. But that never happened.

Sanaul Huq, a senior official of the agency, said that the International Crimes (tribunals) Act of 1973, under which the war crimes trails are being conducted, can be amended to include a provision to confiscate the properties of the fugitive local war criminals.

The fugitive war criminals against whom the agency had found evidence are: Abu Saleh Md Abdul Aziz Mia, 65, former Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker; Ruhul Amin alias Manju, 61, Abdul Latif, 61, Muslim Md Ali, 59, Najmul Huda, 60, and Abdur Rahim Mia, 62.

They are all from Gaibandha district and were involved with Jamaat’s politics, said Abdul Hannan Khan.

The two other suspects are Liakot Ali, 61, former president of Lakhai upazila Awami League of Habiganj, and Aminul Islam alias Rajab Ali, 62, from the Ostogram area in Kishoreganj.

All of them were involved in genocide, murder, arson, looting and torture during the Liberation War in 1971.

According to the agency, at present, a total of 69 people accused and convicted of war crimes are on the run. 

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