The International Crimes Tribunal -1 on Tuesday unanimously handed absconding former Jatiya Party MP engineer Abdul Jabbar imprisonment until natural death for genocide and other crimes against humanity. The three-judge ICT-1 found Jabbar guilty of committing murders, arson attacks , looting and other crimes against humanity in Mathbaria in the then Pirojpur sub-division during the Liberation War. Now 82, Jabbar was 35- year old in 1971, when he committed the crimes against fellow citizens. He was also sentenced to 20 years’ rigorous imprisonment with fine of Tk 10 lakh, and for the failure to pay the fine two more years’ simple imprisonment for forcible conversion of Hindus that compelled the victims to leave Bangladesh during the Liberation War. This was the first instance of imposing monetary fine on a war crimes offender. The presiding judge, Justice M Enayetur Rahim read out the operative part of the unanimous verdict. Justice Jahangir Hossain and Justice Anwarul Haque, the two other judges, also read out parts of the summary of the 141-page verdict. It was the 17th verdict in as many war crimes cases on the free soil of Bangladesh. For the ICT-1, it was the 8th verdict. The presiding judge said that the accused deserved death sentence but he was handed imprisonment until his normal death considering his old age. The tribunal directed the home secretary and the inspector general of police to arrest Jabbar with help of the Interpol, if necessary. Jabbar was found guilty of all the five charges brought against him. In 1971, he was the chairman of Mathbaria central peace committee and supervised the raising of the area’s Razakar force to assist the Pakistani occupation army. He was sentenced to imprisonment until death for committing murders, plundering, arson and deportation from Fuljhuri, Kulupara and Nathpara under Mathbaria on May 16, 1971, for murders, plundering and arsons at Fuljhuri on May 17, 1971, for genocide, murders and other inhumane acts at Naligram under Mathbaria on May 22, 1971 and for abducting 37 Hindus of Angulkata and Mothbaria and murdering 22 of them and plundering their houses, persecution and other inhumane acts he committed from the evening of October 6, 1971 to the morning of October 7, 1971. He was sentenced to 20 years RI with a fine of Tk 10 lakh for forcible conversion of Hindus of Fuljhuri village under Mathbaria in the last week of May 1971. The verdict says that all the five sentences would run concurrently. It said that the judges relied on the Penal Code, in imposing the monetary fine, following an Appellate Division directive. The ICT Act 1973 does not provide for imposing fines. Prosecutor Zahid Imam said, ‘We have the respect for the tribunal’s verdict.’ Asked whether the prosecution would appeal against the verdict, he said that they would take a decision after going through the full verdict. State defence counsel Abul Hassan said that his client would have been acquitted if he had personally faced the trial and if his family provided the correct information. Indicted on August 14, 2014, Jabbar’s trial ended on December 3, 2014 when the tribunal kept the verdict pending. Born in the village of Khetachira, Mathbaria in Pirojpur on November 30, 1932, he was elected member to the Provincial Assembly of East Pakistan in 1964 as a Muslim League leader. In 1971, he was the chairman of Mathbaria central peace committee. In 1986 and 1988, Jabbar was elected MP on tickets from military dictator HM Ershad’s Jatiya Party, according to the prosecution. Until now, 18 war offenders were convicted, 14 of them had been leaders of Jamaat and Islami Chattra Sangha in 1971. Three convicts were Convention Muslim League leaders in 1971 and one is the son of a Convention Muslim League leader. Of the 18 convicts 14 were sentenced to death and four to varying jail terms. The trials of nine suspects in five cases are continuing.
Source: New Age