Former state minister Syed Mohammad Qaisar was sentenced to death on seven charges of killing and rape during the country’s Liberation War in 1971.
- 14 out of 16 charges proved
- Death penalty on 7 charges
- Jail until death on 4 charges
- 10, 7 and 5 years’ imprisonment for three other charges
The 73-year-old has also been awarded jail until death on four charges while different terms of imprisonment on three other charges. However, he was acquitted of two charges.
While reading out the summery of the 484-page verdict, Chairman of International Crimes Tribunal-2 Justice Obaidul Hassan said, “Wrongdoers deserve appropriate punishment.”
An alleged local leader of anti-liberation forces Razakar and Peace Committee, Qaisar was founder of Qaisar Bahini, which had 400-500 collaborators to assist the Pakistan army.
According to the prosecution, Qaisar was the gang leader of the Qaisar Bahini, which carried out atrocities in 1971.
Son of Muslim League leader Syed Soeed Uddin Ahmed of Itakhola in Madhabpur of Habiganj, Qaisar in his political career was affiliated with Muslim League, BNP and Jatiya Party. In 1988, he became the state minister for agriculture from Jatiya Party.
The war crimes accused was arrested in the capital on May 21 last year.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the verdict, SM Shahjahan, a counsel for Qaisar said, “We will appeal against this verdict with the Appellate Division.”
“We hope we will get justice in the Supreme Court,” the defence lawyer said.
The charges for which Qaisar was awarded the capital punishment are:
1. He abetted and facilitated killings of four civilians and caused mental and physical harm to pro-liberation civilians at Krishnanagar village on April 27.
2. He abetted and facilitated killings of seven civilians who were detained at Shaestaganj food godown by Qaisar Bahini for about one month. The killings took place on May 29.
3. Upon his instruction, the Pakistani army caught Dr Salehuddin and Hirendra Chandra Roy from Shaestaganj on April 29. They were later killed at Laskarpur.
4. He abetted and contributed in committing rape of a tea garden worker at Chanpur Tea garden on May 11.
5. He abetted, facilitated and contributed in killing Shah Firoz Ali and torturing Shah Hossain Ali at an army camp at R&H bungalow in Shaestaganj on June 13.
6. He abetted and contributed in committing rape of Majeda at an army camp at Jagadishpur High School on any day of mid-August.
7. Qaisar led a group of Razakars, peace committee members and Qaisar Bahini operators when the Pakistani army launched an attack on civilians in Daura, Nishchintapur and 20 other villages under Nasirnagar police station and created horror by indiscriminate shooting around the crime sites, setting houses on fire, looting households of civilians with an intent to destroy the Hindu religious community, either whole or in part.
In conjunction with the horrendous events, Qaisar and other perpetrators killed 108 unarmed Hindus.
JAIL UNTILL DEATH
The ICT found him guilty in four other charges and sentenced him to jail until death. The charges are:
1. Qaisar being accompanied by Qaisar Bahini gunned down one Shahjahan chairman in Brahmanbaria and tortured one Naeb Ali on April 27.
2. Upon Qaisar’s instruction, the Pakistan army killed eight civilians of Lohaid village on May 15.
3. He led a group of Razakars in detaining three civilians of Narapati village on August 18 and killing them later at Nalua tea garden.
4. He participated, facilitated and contributed in killing four civilians at Sonai River Bridge.
DIFFERENT TERMS OF IMPRISONMENT
The tribunal jailed Qaisar for 10 years as he along with his force and the Pakistan army looted valuables and destroyed around 150 houses and shops at Katiara village on April 27, 1971.
He was awarded seven years’ imprisonment for looting houses of 45 civilians of Habiganj town.
The tribunal sentenced him to five-years’ imprisonment for participating and facilitating murder, abduction, torture and other inhuman acts at Haripur, Gutma and Purbabhag under Nasirnagar police station on June 23, 1971.