Bangladesh announced hanging of another pro-Pakistan politician for crimes committed during Bangladesh Liberation war
By Syeda Munawara Qazi
Dhaka: International Crime Tribunal of Bangladesh announced hanging of another pro-Pakistan politician for crimes he committed during Bangladesh Liberation war against Pakistan. The decision of the International Crimes Tribunal-2 of Dhaka to hang 74 year old Syed M Qaiser of Habiganj has been appreciated by the Bangladeshi government but religious parties have strongly condemned the decision. Habiganj served as cabinet Minister of former President Hussain Muhammad Ershad.
He has been given death sentence for perpetrating crimes against humanity, including rape and genocide, during the 1971 War. The decision was announced here on Tuesday.
,The Chairman of the tribunal Mr. Justice Obaidul Hassan, pronounced the summary of its 8th judgment containing 484 pages after four months of closing the trial. Habiganj Qaiser who faced 16 counts of charges was awarded capital punishment on seven counts of charges like murder, mass rape and mass killing as crimes against humanity while imprisonment unto death on four counts of charges and different terms imprisonment on three counts of charges. “Convict Qaiser be hanged by neck till he is dead,” said ICT-2 chairman Justice Hassan, in the crowded courtroom, merging all other sentences into the death penalty.
Defence counsel SM Shahjahan said to reporters that they would go for appeal against the verdict with a hope of acquittal.
On Monday, the tribunal fixed Tuesday for delivering its judgment. After formally closing law-point arguments from both sides, the tribunal on August 20 kept its judgment pending to be delivered any day and sent accused Qaiser to jail revoking its August 5 last year conditional bail granted on medical and humanitarian grounds. On February 2 this year, the tribunal indicted Qaiser for his involvement in crimes against humanity, including genocide during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Qaiser was arrested on May 21 last year in connection with the war crimes case. On November 14, 2013, the tribunal took cognisance of the formal charge as it found prima facie case against the accused under sections 3(2) and 4(1) (2) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.
It may be mentioned that Qaiser, a former Pakistan Convention Muslim League activist, entered politics by joining BNP and subsequently became the president of its Habiganj district unit. Later, he quit BNP to join Jatiya Party and became state minister for agriculture in 1989. He lately joined the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Col (retd) Oli Ahmad.
According to Bangladeshi newspapers, Qaiser, had formed a vigilante group ‘Qaiser Force’ after his name comprising 500-700 of his trusted men in Habiganj and committed crimes against humanity, including genocide, in collaboration with the Pakistani occupation army. At the latter part of the Liberation War, he had fled to London and returned home after the August 1975 political changeover.
Welcoming the death sentence to war criminal Syed M Qaiser, Law Minister Anisul Haq said he is happy with the trial process and the verdicts
Talking to reporters at his ministry, the minister noted that the trials of crimes against humanity under the International Crimes Tribunals (ICTs) are being held maintaining the international standard and there should be no question about it.