Tuesday, January 17, 2012

'Azam should be fed well, kept in AC'

For the sake of his trial, Ghulam Azam should be 'fed well and kept in an air-conditioned room, if necessary', says an activist campaigning for war crimes trial.

Shahrier Kabir, the head of Ekattorerer Ghatok Dalal Nirmul Committee, says Jamaat-e-Islami could do anything. "They might poison Ghulam Azam in the prison. But if he dies, there will be no trial," he told on Tuesday.

Kabir's comments come in reaction to allegations from certain quarters that the former Jamaat-e-Islami leader, who is under arrest for charges of crimes against humanity in the Liberation War, was being overstayed at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University on the pretext of medical examination.

The Dhaka University teacher said it was of utmost importance that the 89-year-old Azam's health was taken care of.

"If anything happens to Ghulam Azam in jail, the government will be in an awkward position," Shahrier warned.

The Islamist party's spiritual guru, Azam, was due for his MRI on Sunday but it is yet to be done, and his doctor is yet to inspect his X-ray reports. The medical board, hospital and the prison authorities are blaming each other over the delay.

"If necessary, fit an AC in his room and give him really good food," Shahrier said.

BSMMU has been providing Azam with the food of his choice. He is being served bread, chicken, vegetable curry, soup, salad and milk. Soup and milk, however, were added to the menu following doctors' advice.

"I know the hospitality is painful to a lot of families whose members were martyred in the war. But for the sake of the trial, he should stay at the hospital," Shahrier said.

The International Crimes Tribunal on Jan 11 ordered him to jail after he appeared before it. His indictment hearing will start on Feb 15.

Immediately after his reaching the Dhaka Central Jail, he was shifted to the hospital following his lawyer's appeal.

Azam had allegedly led the infamous 'Peace Committees' and collaborated with the Pakistan Army in prosecuting thousands of innocent Bangladeshis.

He also reportedly advocated in Pakistan's support in the Middle Eastern countries during the war.

He stayed in London for seven years after 1971, during which period he had no citizenship, and came back to Bangladesh during the rule of Ziaur Rahman in 1978. He led Jamaat as its Ameer until 2000.