Investigators of the International Crimes Tribunal are preparing to file a case against newly-elected Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Maqbul Ahmad for his involvement in crimes against humanity in Feni area during the 1971 Liberation War.
Chief Coordinator of the investigation agency Abdul Hannan Khan said that the case would be filed on the base of evidence found against Maqbul, who sworn in as the Jamaat chief on October 17.
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“We have made significant progress in the investigation,” Hannan said on Sunday.
“The agency launched primary investigation against Maqbul following a recent news report. But, a latest news report, published in the Dhaka Tribune, that published a letter of 1971, will help the agency find evidence of war crimes during the investigation,” he said.
“The letter has much worthy information. It will help the investigation agency to move forward,” added Hannan.
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Dhaka Tribune published a report in its online edition on November 16 and print version on November 17 titled “Are Maqbul and Makbool the same?” where it tracks down a fresh lead on what Jamaat chief Maqbul was up to during the war. In the report was a copy of a 45-year-old letter that shed new light on the murky past of the new Jamaat ameer.
The letter – printed by the Bangla newspaper Nayajug in 1977 – adds credibility to the recent claims of freedom fighters and other critics that Maqbul is indeed a war criminal.
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Prior to the aforementioned report, the war crimes investigators on November 13 said that they had evidence that the new Jamaat chief perpetrated crimes against humanity during the war in collaboration with the Pakistani occupation forces. Members of the agency also visited Maqbul’s ancestral home in Feni’s Dagonbhuiyan.
According to Investigation Officer Nurul Islam, Maqbul would not only be charged as a planner or instructor of crimes, but he may have been charged for his direct involvement in war crimes.
Hailing from Omarabad village under Purbachandrapur union in Dagonbhuiyan upazila, Maqbul worked as the acting ameer of Jamaat for six years and issued press releases from undisclosed locations.[caption id="attachment_33501" align="aligncenter" width="800"] The news item, published in 1977, based on the letter in question Dhaka Tribune[/caption]
Jamaat and its erstwhile students’ wing Islami Chhatra Sangha openly opposed Bangladesh’s independence for the sake of an undivided Pakistan and formed auxiliary forces like Peace Committee, Razakar, al-Badr and al-Shams forces to help the occupying Pakistan army carry out genocide on the Bangalis.
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An estimated three million people were killed in the war and millions of others forced to seek refuge in India. The number of rape victims is estimated between 200,000 and 500,000.
Since the formation of the war crimes tribunal in 2010, nearly two dozen war criminals –most of who were top Jamaat leaders – were sentenced to different terms for their involvement in war-time crimes. Five of them including the immediate past Jamaat chief, Motiur Rahman Nizami, have been hanged after completing due legal processes.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court is set to start appeal hearing in the case of another convicted Jamaat leader, ATM Azhar, soon. Azhar filed the appeal in January last year.