Monday, February 20, 2012

'Sayedee was involved in my brother's murder'

The president of the Narail Bar association has put Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee at the scene of his elder brother's murder in 1971.

Also elected MP in 1986 and 1988, Saif Hafizur Rahman told the war crimes tribunal on Monday that Jamaat executive council member Sayedee was directly involved in the murder of his elder brother and two others during the independence war.

The International Crime Tribunal, set up to try crimes against humanity during the 1971 war, has indicted Sayedee on 20 counts of such crimes including murder, rape, loot and arson.

The 65-year old, 27th that the prosecution has produced, said that his brother, Saif Mizanur Rahman, who was a magistrate of Pirojpur in 1971, which was then a 'sub-division', the sub-divisional police officer Faizur Rahman and the acting sub-divisional officer Abdur Razzaque were picked up by Razakars and murdered on the bank of the nearby Baleshwar River.

Hafizur Rahman said he had heard of the incident from Khan Bahadur Syed Mohammad Afzal, a collaborator of the Pakistan Army.

The Razakars were one of the platforms set up by the Jamaat-e-Islami, besides other platforms like the Al Badr and Al Shams, to actively thwart the freedom struggle and oppose the pro-liberation forces. They were notorious for their atrocities and extent of collaboration with the Pakistani occupation forces.

Mizanur Rahman's widow, Hafizur Rahman's sister-in-law, had informed the family of the murder. Hafizur Rahman had gone to Pirojpur with his father and sister and heard about what had happened first hand from Afzal.

"He told us that my brother was collaborating with the freedom fighters and was actively supporting the liberation forces. So he was killed along with others."

Afzal had taken his brother away in a car along with one Munnaf Razakar. Hafiz said Delwar Hossain was present in that car. "I heard later that this Delwar Hossain later became known as Delwar Hossain Sayedee."

Mizanul Islam began cross-examination and is set to continue for at least another hour after when the court returns from lunch recess.


Sayedee's is the first case to proceed to the trial stage at the tribunal. The prosecution on Sept 4 proposed framing of charges against him on 31 counts for crimes against humanity and genocide.

On Oct 3, the tribunal indicted Sayedee on 20 counts.

The tribunal also sent Jamaat's former chief Ghulam Azam to jail on Jan 11. His indictment hearing began on Feb 15 and the tribunal is expected to rule on a second bail petition on Feb 23.

Besides Sayedee, Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed and assistant secretaries general Mohammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla, and Bangladesh Nationalist Party's standing committee member and MP Salauddin Quader Chowdhury have been detained on war crimes charges.

The tribunal granted conditional bail to former BNP lawmaker and minister Abdul Alim on March 31 last year. The bail was extended further on Jan 16, ordering him to be present in the court on Mar 15 when the prosecution has been directed to submit formal charges against the BNP leader.