WAR CRIMES TRIAL
Mir Kashem arrestedStaff Correspondent
Jamaat executive council member Mir Quasem Ali was arrested on Sunday afternoon and sent to Dhaka Central Jail.
The police arrested Quasem Ali within an hour after the International Crimes Tribunal-1issued the warrant for his arrest.
The detective branch arrested Quasem Ali, also Diganta Media Corporation chairman, at his daily Nayadiganta office at Motijheel in Dhaka at about 3.45 PM.
He was first taken to the lockup at the tribunal.
Also known as the war
crimes tribunal, the ICT was instituted for the trial of the 1971 war crimes suspects.
The tribunal remanded him to jail and asked the prison authorities to produce him before it today.
Under heavy security the police took Quasem Ali to Dhaka Central Jail at about 8.45 PM.
At About 8.30 PM, the police set out for the jail from the tribunal with Quasem Ali.
Lawyer M Tajul Islam, who is defending all the Jamaat leaders facing war crimes charges, told reporters that he would move a petition before the tribunal of Justice Nizamul Huq, Justice Anwarul Haque and judge AKM Zahir Ahmed seeking bail for Quasem Ali.
Prosecutor Rana Dasgupta said that the prosecution would oppose the bail petition and plead for Quasem’s detention on charges of crimes against humanity he allegedly committed during the war of independence in 1971.
Quasem Ali is the ninth suspect to be arrested and detained following orders from the two International Crimes Tribunals.
Earlier on 3, the ICT-2 of Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, Justice Obaidul Hassan and judge Shahinur Islam issued the warrant for arresting war crimes suspect Abul Kalam Azad, who was known as Bachchu Razakar in Faridpur in 1971.
Bachchu, however, evaded arrest and has reportedly fled the country before the police could reach his residence to arrest him.
At 2.30 PM on Sunday, the tribunal issued the warrant for arresting Quasem Ali after hearing a petition filed by the prosecution.
The tribunal asked the police to arrest Quasem Ali and produce him before it within 24 hours.
Moving the petition, prosecutor Rana Dasgupta submitted to the tribunal that the prosecution seeks the arrest of Quasem Ali as the investigators had already collected evidence and documents to prove his involvement in crimes against humanity committed in Bangladesh in 1971.
Prosecutor Rana submitted that Quasem Ali, who is also a director of Islami Bank, a member of the Ibn Sina Trust, and a director of Rabita al-Alam al-Islami, an NGO, had been creating obstacles to the ongoing war crimes trials.
He submitted that Quasem Ali was making international campaigns against the tribunal and intimidating the witnesses.
The prosecutor submitted that Quasem Ali was the Chittagong unit commander of Al-Badr, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani occupation army mobilised by Jamaat’s erstwhile student wing Islami Chhatra Sangha, and was the third man in its command structure.
Quasem Ali, who comes from Harirampur in Manikganj, was better known as ‘Mintu’ to the people in Chittagong during the war of independence, Rana submitted.
He submitted that Quasem Ali was a member of Islami Chhatra Sangha in his college days.
Rana submitted that Quasem was among those who had made the list of the intellectuals for killing them towards the fag end of the war of independence.
Most of the intellectuals, in the list, were killed on December 14, 1971, only two days before Bangladesh clinched victory in its war of independence against Pakistan.
Quasem and his Al-Badr activists occupied a house belonging to a Hindu family, Mahamaya Bhaban, in the port city of Chittagong, renamed it as Dalim Hotel and turned it into a detention and torture camp of Al-Badr, the prosecutor submitted.
After independence, Quasem fled to Saudi Arabia and returned after the assassination of country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members on August 15, 1975, Rana submitted.
Quasem was also the founding president of Islami Chhatra Shibir in 1980s, as Islami Chhatra Sangha, the student wing of Jamaat, was renamed following its revival.
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