bdnews24.com, Dhaka, December 29
The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) has refused bail to major war crimes suspect and top Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee.
The tribunal on Wednesday also ordered the police authorities to submit the investigation report on allegations against Jamaat's executive council member Sayedee by Feb 15 and produce him before the court on Feb 16.
The key Jamaat leader is now behind the bars on war crime charges.
The war crimes prosecution team on Dec 23 appealed to the ICT, seeking an order to keep Sayedee detained until charges against him are formally formed. The hearing on this appeal was held in Sayedee's presence at the court set up at the old High Court building.
On Dec 27, Sayedee submitted two appeals pleading for bail and revelation of the proofs claimed to have been found against him.
Defence counsel M Tajul Islam stood for the Jamaat leader during both the hearings.
Tajul told the court, "Sayedee is a respectable person. He has been behind the bars for quite a long time. The government side could not press any specific charges against him. He is willing to get bail on any condition."
Presenting some examples of the conditions, Tajul said, "He can surrender his passport, will not deliver any political speeches anywhere in the country, will not flee the country and not obstruct the investigation process."
Referring to Yugoslavian war crimes tribunal, Tajul said, "No one was kept detained there without any specific charges."
The tribunal, in response, said, "You only talked about Yugoslavia, but not about Hague or Rwanda where there are instances of keeping suspects in detention."
Opposing Sayedee's bail petition, the state counsels said, "The information that we got against him have proved his offence. But time is needed to scrutinise the collected evidence as the incidents happened 40 years ago. If the suspect is granted bail, he may flee the country, influence the investigation process and terrorise the witnesses."
Referring to six general diaries filed against the Jamaat leader in Pirojpur, the prosecutors said, "He (Sayedee) has a private cadre force. He, as being an influential person, has the power to destroy evidence. If he is granted bail under the circumstances, dispensation of justice will be hindered."
Earlier on Nov 2, the ICT ordered the authorities to keep Sayedee detained until Dec 29.
On March 26, the ruling Awami League government formed a tribunal, an investigation agency and appointed a team of prosecutors, initiating the process for the long-awaited trial of war criminals.
Law Minister Shafique Ahmed declared formation of a three-member tribunal, seven-member investigation agency and a 12-member prosecution team to hold the trial under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.
The tribunal also arrested four other high-ranking Jamaat leaders — party chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla.
On Dec 16, BNP leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury was also arrested on charges of war crimes.
The investigation agency has already visited Sayedee's home district Pirojpur, Brahmanbaria, village home of former Jamaat chief Ghulam Azam, Rauzan home of BNP leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, and Sherpur to probe allegations against Kamaruzzaman.