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Nizami used to accompany occupation army during Liberation War: PW

Nizami used to accompany occupation army during Liberation War: PW

The trial of alleged war criminal Jamaat-e-Islami ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami again slowed down on Wednesday due to the absence of the prosecution witness for deposition.   After the cross-examination of the prosecution witness-21 was concluded by the defence counsel, designated prosecutor Mohammad Ali without any explanation prayed for adjournment as he could not produce the next PW for giving testimony despite the tribunal’s standing order for uninterrupted trial.   International Crimes Tribunal-1, however, allowed the adjournment plea although disappointed at the prosecution’s non-compliance of its standing order.   During the defence cross-examination, PW-21 Yusuf Ali Biswas, a Liberation War hero, told the tribunal that during the Liberation War accused Nizami used to accompany the Pakistan occupation forces on vehicles to give them an idea about the roads and places in Pabna and its suburbs.   The PW said he had no knowledge whether the local anti-liberation forces had fled away or been killed or captured immediately after the independence of Bangladesh.   Denying a defence suggestion, Yusuf told the tribunal: “It’s not true that no freedom fighters named Arshed Ali Pramanik and Abdul Quddus lived in village Putigram, Pabna. Both were known to me from long ago.”   Replying to a defence question, Yusuf, now 68, told the tribunal that he did not get his name listed as freedom fighter in the official gazette immediately after the independence of Bangladesh.   “During the rule of Shiekh Hasina in 1996, I got my name listed as freedom fighter,” said Yusuf, a defected soldier from then East Bengal Regiment stationed in Chittagong in 1971.   Declining another defence suggestion, PW Yusuf said: “It’s not true that I, being a veteran Awami Leaguer considering Jamaat-e-Islami a rival of Awami League, gave false evidence against Jamaat ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami.”   During the cross-examination, it was noticed that the defence counsel tactically refrained from entering into the fact of the case, mostly straying away.   Nizami is being tried on charges of involvement in murders and torture of unarmed people along with hatching conspiracy, planning, incitement and complicity to commit genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army.   Also the president of Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS), the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1971, Nizami faces 16 counts of charges based on 16 separate incidents of crimes against humanity, in which at least 600 unarmed people were killed and 31 women raped during the Liberation War.   On December 11, 2011, the prosecution submitted the formal charge against Nizami before the tribunal.   On January 9, 2012, the tribunal took cognisance of the formal charge against Nizami for facing the trial of crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War.   On May 28, 2012, the tribunal indicted the Jamaat chief for committing the 1971 crimes against humanity.   Nizami, detained in connection with other criminal case, was shown arrested on August 2, 2010, in connection with the war crimes case. – UNB