The investigation officer in the case against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Kashem Ali, an alleged commander of notorious al-Badr force in Chittagong during the 1971 Liberation War, testified at the war crimes tribunal yesterday.
Nurul Islam is the 24th and last prosecution witness in the case. After his submission, defence lawyer Nazibur Rahman began questioning him. The International Crimes Tribunal 2 adjourned the proceedings until April 15 keeping the cross-examination incomplete.
The IO said as a leader of Islami Chhatra Sangha, then Jamaat’s student wing, the accused had created armed group al-Bad. He led the abduction and persecution of many pro-liberation people at three torture cells in the city.
Nurul identified Dost Mohammad Panjabi building, Salma Manjil and Daleem Hotel as the torture cells of al-Badr force. Hundreds of people had been killed by the al-Badr members upon order of Mir Kashem.
Mir Kashem, now the Jamaat treasurer and also key financier of the party, had been directly involved in committing crimes against humanity with the help of the Pakistani occupation forces, the IO said.
Nurul Islam was also the investigation officer in the case against death row convict Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a former BNP lawmaker from Chittagong.
In his deposition, the IO said he had begun the investigation on July 26, 2010 and submitted report to the chief prosecutor on May 2 last year.
Nurul said he had been informed about the crimes of Mir Kashem from freedom fighters, victims and the victims’ family. Upon specific complaints, he started the investigation and pleaded to the chief prosecutor for the arrest of the accused.
The tribunal issued the arrest warrant on June 17, 2012 and the accused was arrested the same day.
Chairman of Diganta Media Corporation that owns Diganta TV and the daily Naya Diganta, Mir Kashem is facing 14 charges of crimes against humanity.
According to the defence, Mir Kashem is the founding trustee and also a member responsible for administration of the Ibn Sina Trust and director (marketing) of Ibn Sina Pharmaceutical Industries.
He was also the member secretary of Islami Bank Foundation, a sister concern of Islami Bank. Additionally, he is the chairman of Agro Industrial Trust, and chairman and director of Keari Limited, which is involved in real estate and tourism business.
The government claims that Mir Kashem paid a US lobbyist firm $25m to make the trial of war criminals “controversial.”