The fate of eight Al-Badr men, who have been accused of committing horrendous war crimes during the 1971 War of Independence, will be sealed on Monday when the Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) announces its judgement.
Bangladesh daily ‘The Daily Star’ reported that a three-member Tribunal Bench headed by Justice Anwarul Haque had fixed the date of the verdict on Sunday. The accused, S.M. Yousuf Ali, Shamsul Haque, Ashraf Hossain, Prof Sharif Ahammed, Abdul Mannan, Abdul Bari, Harun and Abul Hashem have been facing charges for murder, abduction, torture, confinement and arson committed between April 22 and December 11 in 1971.
Among the accused, Yousuf and Shamsul who were arrested on March 2, 2015, are now in jail.
Ashraf is rumoured to have fled to India while the rest are still hiding in Bangladesh, said the Tribunal’s investigation agency.
The Tribunal has been looking into war crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation war.
According to the agency, Jamalpur and Sherpur were the origins of Al-Badr, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani occupation army.
Ashraf Hossain, along with executed war criminal Muhammad Kamaruzzamann and Kamran, all leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami’s the then student wing Islami Chhatra Sangha, had organised Al-Badr in Greater Mymensingh.
Sharif, Mannan, Bari, Harun and Hashem were also involved in Islami Chhatra Sangha and later became members of Al-Badr.
Sharif was the director of Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd between 1987 and 2003 and executive and managing director of Bangladesh Publications Ltd, which owned the Daily Sangram, between 1999 and 2013.
Shamsul, contested as a Jamaat candidate, for provincial assembly in the 1970’s election from Jamalpur but was defeated. Yusuf, another Jamaat candidate had tried for a seat in the national assembly, but he was defeated too.
However, Yousuf became a national assembly member through a “so-called” by-election in 1971, the agency said, adding that the duo, Shamsul and Yusuf had patronized Al-Badr in Jamalpur.
On October 26 last year, the tribunal has framed five charges and the prosecution produced 25 witnesses, including the investigation officer of the case, along with some documentary evidence. The defense declined to produce any witness.