Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Published: 2022-05-19 12:03:32 BdST
The three convicted war criminals are Abdul Mannan aka Monai, Abdul Aziz aka Habul and his brother Abdul Matin.
Abdul Matin is currently at large, while the other two were present in court to hear the verdict.
The verdict was delivered by a three-member International Crimes Tribunal bench led by Justice Md Shahinur Islam. The other members of the tribunal were Justice Md Abu Ahmed Jamadar and KM Hafizul Alam.
The three were sentenced to death after the prosecution managed to prove all five charges against the accused in the case.
Lawyer M Sarwar Hossain stood for Mannan while Aziz and his fugitive brother Matin were represented by state-appointed lawyer Abdus Sattar Palwan. Prosecutors Mukhlesur Rahman Badal and Sabina Yasmin Khan Munni represented the state during the hearing.
FREEDOM FIGHTERS TURNED RAZAKARS
Aziz and Matin were trained as freedom fighters after moving to India with Chhatra League leaders and activists in 1971. They then fled to Barlekha at the end of their training, surrendered to the Pakistan army and became Razakars - a paramilitary force that supported the Pakistanis. Mannan joined the two afterwards, according to the documents submitted by the tribunal's investigation agency.
Aziz was involved in politics with BNP before being arrested in March 2016. Matin was involved with Jamaat-e-Islami.
The investigation agency also found evidence of Mannan's involvement in Islami Chhatra Sangha, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, during the 1971 Liberation War.
He became a Razakar member and joined Barlekha Thana's Peace Committee during the Liberation War. He was apprehended in March 2016.
"The accused claimed they were 'freedom fighters' but the tribunal failed to prove their claim in court," prosecutor Sabina Yasmin Khan Munni said.
"The testimonies of 17 witnesses and other documents proved that they joined Razakar group and committed murder, rape, torture and other crimes against humanity in opposition to the Liberation War."
The investigation agency of the tribunal launched an investigation into the case against Mannan, Aziz and Matin in 2014 and it was completed in 2016.
The war crimes tribunal issued arrest warrants against three of them on Feb 29 that year.
Police apprehended Mannan and Aziz on Mar 1 that year and the International Crimes Tribunal sent them to jail a day after their arrest. The law enforcers could not manage to catch fugitive Matin.
The investigation agency finalised the charge sheet against the three in November 2018 and the tribunal indicted them on May 15, 2018. The verdict came in the case after hearing arguments on Apr 12.