The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-1 today sentenced Bagerhat Razakar commander Sheikh Sirajul Haque alias Siraj Master to death and his accomplice Khan Akram Hossain to imprisonment till death in a case of crimes against humanity committee during the War of Liberation, agencies report. The three-member ICT-1 panel led by its chairman justice M Enayetur Rahim pronounced the judgment as it found Siraj, notoriously known as Kosai (butcher) Siraj guilty in five out of six charges framed against him and Khan Akram guilty in one charge out of the three.
The first tribunal found them not guilty in charge number six and acquitted them from the charge. “Siraj be convicted accordingly and sentenced to death for the said five charges and the said sentences of death be executed by hanging the accused by the neck till he is dead or by shooting him till he is dead, as decided by the government,” said Justice M Enayetur Rahim.
The duo was brought to tribunal at 8.55 am from Dhaka Central Jail and kept at its lockup on the ground floor of the building. They were produced at the courtroom at 10.55 am and the tribunal started its proceedings at 11 sharp. Justice Anwarul Haque started reading out the introductory part of the judgement at about 11.07 am and finished at 11.35. Justice Jahangir Hossain read out the middle part and the tribunal chairman read out the sentencing portion. Justice Rahim sentenced the duo at 12.17 noon.
Right after the sentencing, police hurriedly took the two convicts back to the tribunal lockup. In his reaction after the judgement, prosecutor Syed Sayedul Haque Suman expressed his satisfaction saying Siraj only deserved death for his monstrous crimes committed in 1971. “He was such a monster, who used to slaughter Freedom Fighters and pro-liberation people regularly. Freedom Fighters managed to catch him after the independence and issued tickets to see him in person,” Prosecutor Suman said.
Advocate Abul Hasan, counsel for Siraj, however expressed his dissatisfaction over the judgement. “We are aggrieved by the judgement,” he said. Khan Akram’s counsel Barrister M Sarwar Hossain said they would file appeal against judgement. Abdul Latif Talukder, accomplice of Siraj and Akram and another accused in the case, died of old age complications on July 28 at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. He was ‘abated’ from the case.
A total of 32 prosecution witnesses, including the investigation officer, testified against the trio, whereas five defence witnesses submitted their depositions in support of the accused.
The ICT-1 issued warrant to arrest them on June 10, 2014, and Latif was nabbed by police on that very day. Akram was arrested on June 20 and Siraj on July 21.
The ICT-1 on November 5, 2014, indicted the trio in seven specific charges of crimes against humanity.