Monday, February 20, 2012

After March 25 Massacre : Ghulam Azam lent support to Tikka Khan

Prosecution tells war crimes tribunal.

Former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Ghulam Azam met General Tikka Khan at least twice after the Pakistani occupation forces massacred thousands of defenceless Bangalees on March 25, 1971 and assured him of full cooperation, the prosecution told the International Crimes Tribunal yesterday.

Prosecutor Zead Al Malum said the first meeting with the then East Pakistan governor general was held on April 4, 1971 at the governor's house in Dhaka where Azam met Tikka as part of a 12-member team.

The second was a private meeting of the duo, he added.

At the meetings, Azam termed the freedom fighters "armed intruders", proposed, in company of others, to form a Peace Committee, and promised to provide all-out assistance to the Pakistani army to maintain "law and order".

Malum said this while reading out the formal charges against Ghulam Azam before the tribunal.

Ghulam Azam, 89, is facing charges on 62 specific crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 war.

 He is one of the front men who actively helped the Pakistani military's attempt to foil the birth of Bangladesh.
The three-member tribunal headed by Justice Md Nizamul Huq continued hearing the formal charges against Azam for the third day yesterday.

The formal charges contain 191 pages and 151 of them have so far been read out before the tribunal, which is scheduled to hear the charges tomorrow.

Yesterday's reading covered mostly charges of incitement committed by Ghulam Azam during 1971 when he was chief of Jamaat's East Pakistan unit.

There were numerous instances cited from newspaper reporting on Ghulam Azam's meetings with the Pakistani military junta as well as his speeches at different party meetings.

Reading out from the charges, the prosecutor said Ghulam Azam referred to the movement for liberation as "loathed attack from India" while addressing different programmes.

As the ameer of East Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami, Azam was in an authoritative position. But he did not stop the Pakistani rulers or army from carrying out crimes against humanity, the prosecutor commented.
Therefore, he is not free from the charges, he added.

Earlier, Prosecutor Nurjahan Begum Mukta began reading out the formal charges. She gave examples of Azam's role as a superior leader in different crimes against humanity committed in 1971.

Azam was not brought to the tribunal yesterday from his prison cell at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University hospital due to his old age and physical weakness.

He is among six Jamaat and two BNP leaders now facing war crimes charges at the tribunal.

Swedish man survived in snowed-in car for two months

Doctors say 'igloo effect' kept 44-year-old driver in northern Sweden alive despite temperatures of -30C.

A Swedish man who spent two months snowed inside his car as temperatures outside dropped to -30C is "awake and able to communicate", according to the hospital treating him, where stunned doctors believe he was kept alive by the "igloo effect" of his vehicle.

The man, believed to be Peter Skyllberg, 44, who was found near the north-eastern town of Umeå on Friday by passers-by, told police he had been in the car since 19 December without food, surviving only by eating snow and staying inside his warm clothes and sleeping bag.

Dr Ulf Segerberg, the chief medical officer at Noorland's University Hospital, said he had never seen a case like it. The man had probably been kept alive, he said, by the natural warming properties of his snowed-in car which would have acted as "the equivalent of an igloo".

"This man obviously had good clothes; he's had a sleeping bag and he's been in a car that's been snowed over," said Segerberg. "Igloos usually have a temperature of a couple of degrees below 0C and if you have good clothes you would survive in those temperatures and be able to preserve your body temperature.

Obviously he has managed to preserve his body temperature or he wouldn't have made it because us humans can't really stand being cooled down like reptiles, for instance, which can change the body temperature."
Two months was at the "upper limit" of what a person would be able to survive without food, added Segerberg.

Skyllberg was found emaciated and very weak by a pair of snowmobilers who thought they had found a crashed car. They dug down through about a metre of snow to see its driver lying on the back seat in his sleeping bag, according to Ebbe Nyberg, a local police officer.

"They were amazed at what they found: a man in his mid-40s huddled inside in a sleeping bag, starving and barely able to move or speak," Nyberg, working in Vaesterbotten county, was quoted as saying.
A rescuer told the local newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren: "It's just incredible that he's alive considering that he had no food, but also since it's been really cold for some time after Christmas."

Police said temperatures around Umeå had fallen to -30C. One doctor, Stefan Branth, said Skyllberg may have survived by going into hibernation mode. "A bit like a bear that hibernates. Humans can do that. He probably had a body temperature of around 31C which the body adjusted to. Due to the low temperature, not much energy was used up."

But Segerberg said he was "sceptical" of this suggestion. "We can't lower body temperature very much. A little bit we can, but if we lower body temperatures more than just a little bit, we lose consciousness and go into a coma," he said, cautioning that it was not his area of expertise.

Skyllberg is being treated in an ordinary ward in the University Hospital, where Segerberg said he was "feeling well". It was unclear how he had come to be stranded in the deserted lane.

Segerberg said that, even in a part of the world where sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow are the norm, this case was unusual. "There have been cases of people caught out in the mountains, and if they can dig themselves down in the snow they are able to survive and be found. But there must be something special in this case."

Source :

'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.