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Dhaka Tribune

Tribunal reading out summary verdict against Mir Kashem

Update : 02 Nov 2014, 04:32 AM

A special tribunal in Dhaka has started reading out the summary of its 351-page verdict in war crimes cases against top Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Kashem Ali around 10:55am on Sunday.

10 charges out of total 14, which include killings, conspiracy, planning, complicity, incitement and active participation were proved, the tribunal pronounced.

He was placed at the dock of the International Crimes Tribunal around 10:40am.

A prison van carrying the Jamaat leader reached at the tribunal at 9:25am. Later, he was kept at the tribunal's locker.

The law enforcers have taken extra security measures in the tribunal premises in a bid to avert any untoward situation before and after the verdict.

Besides, additional police force and BGB members were deployed in all the important points of the capital.

On the other hand, Jamaat is observing the second day of its shutdown called protesting the verdict against its chief Motiur Rahman Nizami.

The prosecution brought 14 charges of crimes against humanity against him but tried to prove 12 charges and did not contest in the two others. Among the charges, two were for killings while the rest for his role in abduction, confinement and torture.

The prosecution also the accused for arson, looting and his superior responsibility in the crimes committed during the war by himself and others of his group.

All the alleged crimes were committed in Chittagong district. Most of the crimes took place between November and December of 1971.

At the end of the case proceedings, the prosecution sought capital punishment for Kashem terming him “Bangalee Khan” of 1971.

The prosecution says Kashem was the chief of Chittagong district al-Badr, an infamous auxiliary force of the Pakistani occupation force formed by Chhatra Sangha men.

Mir Kashem was a top leader of Chittagong unit Chhatra Sangha and in November 1971 became general secretary of the central committee.

He was indicted by the International Crimes Tribunal 1 on September 5 last year. Later the case was shifted to the tribunal 2 for quick disposal. As many as 24 prosecution witnesses testified against Kashem.

Charges against Kashem, also the chairman of Diganta Media Corporation that runs Diganta TV (operation now suspended) and the Daily Naya Diganta, were taken into cognisance on May 26 last year.

Police arrested him on June 17 last year from the office of the daily Naya Diganta in the capital hours after the tribunal issued a warrant for his arrest.

According to the prosecution, Mir Kashem, who is originally from Munshidangi Sutalori under Harirampur in Manikganj, joined Islami Chhatra Sangha, then student wing of Jamaat, in 1967 while studying at Chittagong Collegiate School. He later became its Chittagong City unit general secretary.

Mir Kashem played an important role in forming al-Badr Bahini that is orchestrated systematic killing of freedom fighters and intellectuals.

As per the charges, he had set up makeshift torture camps at different places in the port city including Daleem Hotel in Andorkilla, where pro-liberation people were handed down punishment. Other allegations against him include involvement in mass killings in Asadnagar and Panchlaish areas.

Mir Kashem in collaboration with the Pakistani occupation forces opened several torture cells in the city including Dost Mohammad Panjabi building and Salma Manjil where M Omar-ul-Islam and Lutfar Rahman Faruk among others were tortured following abduction.

He is accused of abducting six persons including Jasim and torturing them in confinement from the day of Eid-ul-Fitr in 1971 to November 28, subsequently killing them and concealing their bodies.

The Jamaat leader is also charged for the abduction of Jahangir Alam Chowdhury, Tuntu Sen and Ranjit Das alias Latu and torturing them in confinement, looting and setting their houses on fire, later killing Ranjit and Tuntu in November 1971.

The defence, however, claimed during their submission that Kashem had been in Chittagong when the crimes took place. They wanted acquittal of Kashem.

According to a defence petition, Kashem is the member secretary of Islami Bank Foundation, an organisation that oversees all the projects of Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd and profits generated by it; chairman of Keari Ltd, a real estate and tourism company; founding trustee and also a member responsible for administration of the Ibn Sina Trust and director (marketing) of Ibn Sina Pharmaceutical Industries.

The Jamaat leader is also the member secretary of Fouad Al-Khateeb Charity Foundation.

On April 28 last year, then law minister Shafique Ahmed told parliament that Jamaat had signed an agreement with a US lobbyist firm to make the trial of war criminals “controversial.”

He said Mir Kashem had paid $25m for this purpose while claiming that the government had copies of the receipts and the agreement.

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