Death penalty for Qaiser
Dhaka, 23 December 2014, Nirapad News : Today, the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-2 handed down death penalty to former state-minister for agriculture Syed Mohammad Qaiser for his crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War in and around Habiganj.
The 73-year-old former minister found guilty on 14 charges out of 16. Among 14, he has been awarded death penalty on 7 charges, jail until death on 4 charges while 10, 7 and 5 years’ imprisonment for three other charges.
“He be convicted and condemned unanimously to a ‘sentence of death’ for the crimes as listed in this charge and he be hanged by the neck till he is dead,” said Justice Obaidul Hassan, chairman of the three-member panel of ICT-2 at 12.15 noon. The tribunal handed down death penalty to him for charge number 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 16. He was sentenced to 10-year imprisonment for charge number 2, 7-year for charge number 7 and 5-year imprisonment for charge number 11. Qaiser has been sentenced to imprisonment for life in charge number 1, 9, 13 and 14. But the jail term will naturally get merged into the death sentence.
The tribunal in its observation also asked the state to initiate a compensation scheme for the rape victims of 1971 and the war babies.
Meanwhile, prosecutor Rana Dasgupta said they are happy over the death sentence pronounced against Qaiser. Qaiser was brought to tribunal at 8.50 am from Dhaka Central Jail as the tribunal yesterday asked the jail authority to produce the accused by 10 am today. Wearing a white trouser and ash-color blazer, the former state-minister was seen sitting in the tribunal lockup with gloomy face. He was taken to the courtroom from the lockup at 10.55 am and the tribunal started its proceedings at about 11.03 am and its chairman started reading the summary of the 484-page verdict at 11.07 am.
Qaisar has been charged for raping an indigenous woman on May 11 or 12th of 1971. He along with the Pakistani army personnel had gone to Chunarughat area and raped the Santal woman. Charges one and five state that Qaisar during April 27-30 along with the army men went to Bijoynagar, Madhabpur, Shayestaganj and Habiganj sadar where abduction, confinement, torture and murder took place upon the order of Qaisar. Charges six, seven and eight mentioned about the offences took place in May 1971. At that time, at least 17 people had been murdered and seriously tortured by Qaisar along with Pakistani army. According to charges 12-16, he had captured freedom fighters from Chunarughat, Madhabpur and Nasirnagar. In these criminal incidents, Qaisar used his personal force “Qaisar Bahini” to assist the Pakistani army.
Earlier on August 20, 2014, the second tribunal kept the date of the verdict on CAV (curia advisory vault, a Latin legal term meaning court awaits verdict), saying it can be passed on any day. The tribunal also canceled the bail of Qaiser and sent him to jail on that day. The tribunal passed the order as the prosecution concluded their part of rebuttal, pleading death for Qaiser for his ‘Dragon’ type role in 1971. The prosecution also had pleaded for giving compensation to two rape victims and one war baby, saying, “Qaiser’s immovable and movable properties should be seized for giving compensation to the three victims.”
The ICT-2 on February 2, 2014, framed 16 charges of crimes against humanity against Qaiser. A total of 32 prosecution witnesses including a war baby have testified against Qaiser.