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Dhaka Tribune

Mueen’s interview is another crime: prosecution

Update : 21 Jul 2013, 09:56 AM

Prosecution has expressed astonishment at the comments that Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, a fugitive accused of war crimes, made about the war crimes trial during an interview with Al-Jazeera television.

In the interview, aired on Saturday, Mueen Uddin, now living in Britain, termed the ongoing trial of war criminals “sham” and “joke,” labelled the International Crimes Tribunal a “kangaroo court,” and said he would never appear before it.

The comments came only four days after tribunal 2 had begun hearing on the case filed on 11 charges of wartime offences, including the killing of 18 intellectuals between December 11 and 15, 1971, against Mueen and another fugitive accused Ashrafuzzaman Khan.

In the interview, although the war crime suspect admitted that he had been a member of Islami Chhatra Sangha, Jamaat-e-Islami’s student front later renamed Islami Chhatra Shibir, he denied involvement with the paramilitary force al-Badr, which has been blamed for war atrocities, including the killing of intellectuals.

“I resigned from my political posts after the military crackdown [on March 25, 1971].” 

He also claimed in the interview that he did not support the military actions in the former East Pakistan.

The prosecution, meanwhile, did not take an accused’s interview in international media lightly. 

Prosecutor Shahidur Rahman said: “He [Chowdhury Mueen Uddin] is accused but fugitive. That does not mean that he did no crime. International media should not give him any space.”

“If any media interviewed that person, then it is an example of bad journalism,” the prosecutor added.

Another prosecutor told the court that he had committed one more crime by giving the interview. 

The government should try for his repatriation, the prosecutor said, adding that such interviews would help the government in bringing him back from London.

Earlier, Asif Munier, the second prosecution witness against Mueen and Ashrafuzzaman, said the duo was responsible for the abduction and murder of his father Munier Chowdhury, a martyred intellectual.

“On December 14, 1971, four young men came on a microbus whose glasses were tinted with mud. They captured Munier Chowdhury and went away. When newspapers published photographs of the war criminals after liberation, my uncle Rousseau identified Ashraf and Mueen as two of those who came to our house that day,” Asif said.

Another prosecution witness Masuda Banu, niece of martyred intellectual Gias Uddin Ahmed, said in her deposition: “Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin abducted my uncle. They took him from the Mohsin Hall of Dhaka University of which he was a house tutor.”

Masuda, who was an active member of the Chhatra Union, also said: “I can identify them as I was involved in politics at that time.”

Tribunal 2 indicted Mueen and Ashraf on 11 counts of crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War. 

The charges include killing of 18 intellectuals, of whom nine were Dhaka University teachers, six journalists and three doctors, according to the prosecution. 

Shahidullah Kaiser and Selina Parvin were also among the intellectuals that the duo had allegedly abducted and killed.  Mueen Uddin was al-Badr’s “operation-in-charge” while Ashrafuzzaman played the role of “chief executor.” They have reportedly been staying in London and New York respectively.

The tribunal began hearing on the deposition of the prosecution witnesses on July 15.

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