International Crimes Tribunal on Thursday handed death penalty to top Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee for committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War. The 73-year-old Jamaat nayeb-e-ameer was handed down the penalty for eight wartime criminal offences as his party enforced a shutdown threatening anarchy across the country. The three-member tribunal said eight out of 20 charges pressed against Sayedee were proved beyond doubt. Sayedee received death penalties in two cases—filed for the killing of Ibrahim Kutti and Bisha Bali.
Disagreeing with the judgement vehemently, the convict stood up on the dock and blamed the judges for “not giving the verdict from the core of their heart”. The verdict came due to the excessive pressure from “some atheists of Shahbagh”, he reacted. Many present in the courtroom yelled at Sayedee to keep his mouth shut, calling him “promanito razakar”, which means a proved collaborator.
The verdict brings the first and perhaps the most sensational case to an end after 16 months since the charges had been framed against the person best known across Bangladesh for his sermons.
The three-member International Crimes Tribunal -1, set up on Mar 25, 2010 to try crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War, met at 11:10am with Sayedee already in the dock. The court began with presiding judge ATM Fazle Kabir making a few statements to set the mood of the court before reading out a summary of the 120-page verdict. “You know him (Sayedee). He is a prominent Maulana whose sermons draw huge crowds of believers,” said Justice Kabir. “Another identity of him is that he is a Jamaat-e-Islami Leader.” “But we have sat here not to hold trial of any Maulana or Jamaat leader. We are here to try the Sayedee who was known as Delu Razakar during 1971.”
Sayedee appeared tense throughout, dressed in a white Panjabi with a black vest on it, as Justice Anwarul Hoque started reading the verdict with permission from the tribunal Chairman.
Sayedee was indicted for 20 charges on Oct 3, 2011, was arrested and brought before the tribunal for the first time on Nov 2, 2010.