Bagerhat War Crimes : Siraj to be hanged, Akram jailed until death 

August 12, 2015

The International Crimes Tribunal-1 on Tuesday sentenced Sheikh Sirajul Haque alias Siraj Master alias Kosai Siraj to death and life term until death to Khan Akram Hossain finding them guilty of genocide, murders and other inhuman acts in Bagerhat in 1971. The presiding judge, Justice M Enayetur Rahim, read out the unanimous verdict of the three-judge tribunal in a crowded courtroom in the Old High Court Building amid tight security.
Parts of the verdict were read out by two other judges – Justice Jahangir Hossain and Justice Anwarul Haque.
As the third accused in the case, Abdul Latif Talukder of village Solarkola under Kachua in Bagerhat, died, the tribunal abated the proceeding against him.
The tribunal expressed regrets over his death.
Siraj, 73, and Akram, 62, heard the verdict in pensive mood seated on chairs in the dock.
Siraj comes from the village Mirzapur under Bagerhat Sadar upazila and Akram from Daibaggahati under Morelgonj in Bagerhat.
Siraj was sentenced to death on all the five charges while Akram was handed life term until death for abduction and murder of freedom fighter Fazlur Rahman at Teligati Bazar under Morrelganj police station on December 13, 1971.
The presiding judge said Seraj’s five death sentences would naturally get merged on the execution of his first death sentence.
The tribunal left the option open to the government either to hang him or put him before a firing squad.
Siraj was found guilty of genocide and murder at Ranjitpur village under Bagerhat Sadar police station on May 13, 1971 and at Dakara Kali temple under Rampal police station on May 21, 1971; murder, abduction, confinement and torture in three villages under Bagerhat Sadar police station on June 18, 1971, in four other villages under the same police station on October 14, 1971, and at Shakharikati Bazar under Kachua police station on November 5, 1971.
The duo were acquitted from the common charge of abduction and murder at Char Tengrakhali village under Kachua police station on October 22, 1971.
They were also acquitted from another common charge relating to abduction and murder at Shakharikati Bazar under Kachua police station on November 5, 1971.
The court found credible evidence that Siraj, known as ‘Kosai Siraj’ or Butcher Siraj was second-in-command while Rajob Ali was the commander of the Razakar force in the then Bagerhat sub-division during the Liberation War and Akram was its influential member.
It also found credible evidence of raising the Razakar force across the country much before the promulgation of Razakar Ordinance in August 1971.
The court said it found credible evidence of the Razakar force acting as an auxiliary force of the occupation army of Pakistan in committing genocide, murders, abduction, torture and other atrocities throughout the country.
The tribunal expressed extreme dissatisfaction over the failure of the prosecution to book other living war crimes suspects whose names were mentioned by witnesses in their testimonies.
‘We are constrained to express our dissatisfaction over such unmindful investigations into the case,’ said the tribunal.
Later, prosecutor Syed Sayedul Haque Suman said that the prosecution was satisfied over the verdict.
State defence lawyer for Siraj, Mohammad Abul Hasan said the prosecution could not produce a single document to prove that Siraj was the deputy commander of Razakar force in the then Bagerhat sub-division.
‘My client would appeal against the verdict,’ he said.
‘We will appeal,’ said Akram’s lawyer M Sarwar Hossain.
This was the 21st verdict in as many war crimes cases.
For the ICT-1 it was the 10th verdict.
On June 23, the trial was completed.
Until now, 24 war offenders have been convicted, mostly Jamaat leaders.

-With New Age input

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