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Dhaka Tribune

Tortured freedom fighter seeks justice

Update : 23 Feb 2014, 07:41 PM

New prosecution witness in the trial against Mir Kashem Ali yesterday sought justice in court, saying he was tortured by the accused during the Liberation War.

Eskender Alam Chowdhury, a 66-year-old freedom fighter from Chittagong, told the International Crime Tribunal 2 that the accused had tortured him at an al–Badr camp inside a hotel in Chittagong city.

Eskender claimed that Kashem and his gang detained and brutally beat him up at Dalim Hotel, known as an al–Badr torture cell, adding that he was freed on Victory Day by some local people.

So far, the prosecution has produced seven other witnesses. At a hearing on Wednesday, witness number six, Mridul Kumar Dey from Hazari Lane, described the forced deportation of at least 250 families. He said most of them had left for India, while the rest went into hiding within Bangladesh.

Kashem, who is facing 14 charges for committing crimes against humanity, was produced before the tribunal during Eskender’s deposition.

Eskender, who was a ground engineer with the Pakistan Air Force when war broke out, fled from his base in Mouripur, Lahore and joined the Liberation War in November 1971.

“I was captured by the Pakistani army and their followers on November 29 and taken to Dalim Hotel along with my other detained comrades. There, Mir Kashem Ali and one Khan beat me nearly to death to get information about my comrades,” he said.

“They tried to force me to disclose information about my co-fighters. But having failed, they became more ferocious,” he continued. “I, along with my fellows [detainees] were freed on December 16, 1971 by the local people.”

Eskender said after being released, they learned from the people that the country had become independent.

He ended his deposition before the two-member tribunal seeking justice.

Defence counsel Mizanul Islam then cross-examined him for some time.

The tribunal adjourned the hearing until today.

The trial against Mir Kashem Ali, a Jamaat-e-Islami executive council member, began on November 18. In an opening statement, prosecutors Sultan Mahmud and Ridia Sultana declared that there was enough evidence against Kashem to try him for war crimes. 

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