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Dhaka Tribune

Verdict in Mahidur-Afsar case today

Update : 19 May 2015, 07:18 PM

A war crimes tribunal is set to pronounce its verdict today in the case against former Muslim League leaders Mahidur Rahman and Afsar Hossain alias Chhutu, five months into their indictment on charges of killings, arson and loot during the Liberation War.

The International Crimes Tribunal 2 led by Chairman Obaidul Hasan fixed the date yesterday. The case was kept for verdict on April 22.

The prosecution submitted three charges against the duo that include killing of 24 people, plundering and torching of 70-80 houses, and killing of four people after abduction during the war. The tribunal framed the charges on December 11 last year.

The duo were arrested on September 16 last year in a criminal case, and later shown arrested in the war crimes case. Mahidur hails from Dadanchak village while Afsar from Satrashia in Shibganj, Chapainawabganj.

After yesterday’s order, prosecutor Shahidur Rahman told reporters that they were able to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt. “I hope that death penalty will be given for both the accused,” he said.

On the other hand, the defence said justice would be done through acquittal of the two elderly men. “Please deliver a verdict which will not raise question in the international community,” lawyer Abdus Sattar had told the court during arguments.

Replying to his remarks, the tribunal chairman said: “We bother less about the local and foreign reactions. Don’t give that excuse...don’t try to frighten us. We have sworn in to ensure justice.” The judge also said the defence could go to the Appellate Division to challenge the tribunal verdict.

Mahidur and Afsar, aided by hundreds of armed razakars and members of the Pakistani Army, had attacked Chandshikari, Chamatol, Kabirajtola and Eradot Biswasertola villages, and abducted 39 people in two phases on October 6, 1971. They were later tortured in confinement and 24 of them shot dead.

According to the second charge, the duo, accompanied by razakars, launched a systematic attack at Kabirajtola and Eradot Biswasertola and burnt down houses after looting on October 13. The other charge says the duo together with 30-35 armed razakars attacked the houses of Kalumuddin Mondol, Abdur Rashid, Gajal and Ilias Mondol of Sherpur Bhandar village, detained and tortured them on November 2. 

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