Delwar Hossain Sayeedi
||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (February 2013)|
|Delwar Hossain Sayeedi|
|Vice President of
|Shaykh al-Islām, Allamah and Ulama|
|Member of Parliament
12 June 1996 – 29 December 2008
|Preceded by||Shudangsu Shekhor Halder|
|Succeeded by||AKMA Awal (Saeedur Rahman)|
|Born||Pirojpur, Barishal, Bangladesh|
|Spouse(s)||Sheikha Saleha Begum|
|Children||Rafiq Bin Sayeedi, Shameem Sayeedi, Masood Sayeedi, Naseem Sayedee|
Delwar Hossain Sayeedi (Bengali: দেলাওয়ার হোসাইন সাঈদী), also known as allamah, is a Bangladeshi Muslim politician, Islamic scholar, lecturer and a former Member of parliament of the Parliament of Bangladesh from 1996 to 2008. He is the Nayeb-e-Ameer or the Vice President of Bangladeshi Jamaat-e-Islami. He was given life imprisonment by the International Crimes Tribunal.  The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh found Sayeedi guilty in 6 of the 20 charges, including mass killing and arson during 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. The tribunal has been criticized by international observers despite having received widespread support from large numbers of people in Bangladesh.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Bangladesh liberation war
- 3 Entry into politics
- 4 Critic of 2001 war in Afghanistan
- 5 Foreign travel controversy
- 6 Government investigation of war crimes during liberation war
- 7 War crimes trials
- 8 References
Sayeedi was born in a village located in Indurkani, Pirojpur (Barisal Division), present-day Bangladesh. His father Mawlana Yusuf Sayedee was an Islamic orator. Allama Sayeedi received his first primary religious education at his local village madrassa, which was built by his father.
He attended the Sarsina Alia Madrasah in 1962, followed by the Khulna Alia Madrasah. Sayeedi started a business in a local village market after completing his religious studies. He was recognized as a Muslim cleric, or Maulana. In 1971 he was only 30 years old. In his judgment by the ICT, he was accused of being on intimate terms with Pakistan military at Pirojpur during 1971 Bangladesh liberation war and having done some crimes against Bengali people and opposing the independence of Bangladesh. However, according to his son Masud Sayeedi he was not in Pirojpur in 1971 and he lived in Jessore since 1969.
Bangladesh liberation war
Longstanding tensions between the eastern province of Bangladesh and the majority government based in western Pakistan gave rise in 1971 to the Bangladesh liberation war. In 25 March 1971 Pakistan military started armed operation on unarmed Bengali people and killed hundreds of them in that night and the atrocities have been referred to as acts of genocide. Delwar Hossain Sayeedi opposed the independence of Bangladesh. He is convicted of having supported & actively helped the Pakistani military as a collaborator. In some cases the fighting devolved into insurgent and sectarian warfare, with Hindu communities attacked, and paramilitary groups operating independently of national armies. Bangladesh achieved independence in 1971. He was known as "Deilla Razakar" during the liberation war in his locality. His defence at the ICT trials, however, have argued that this was a case of mistaken identity saying that the notorious Delwar Hossain Shikdar alias "Deilla Razakar" had been apprehended and executed by freedom fighters after the war. Before this, in the case of another war criminal Abdul Quader Molla, who is also a leader of Delwar Hossain Sayeedi's party Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, same defence alleged that Quader Molla and ‘Koshai’ Quader or ‘Butcher’ Quader were not the same person.
Entry into politics
In the early 1980s, Sayeedi started arranging waj mahfil and tafsir. He spoke in support of Islam in different parts of the country. As he was a good orator, his fame spread quickly and he decided to enter politics.
Critic of 2001 war in Afghanistan
Foreign travel controversy
In July 2006 Sayeedi travelled to the UK to address rallies in London and Luton; his entry was cleared by the foreign office. Many British MPs considered his admission to the country to be controversial. In leaked emails reported by The Times, an adviser, Eric Taylor, said that Sayeedi’s "previous visits to the UK have been reportedly marred by violence caused by his supporters."
On 13 July 2006, the British journalist Martin Bright released a documentary called Who Speaks For Muslims? It included Sayeedi and identified him as having extreme views. Sayeedi has a large following within the British Bangladeshi community. He was invited to speak at the East London Mosque on 14 July 2006; the then-secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Muhammad Abdul Bari, supported his invitation.
Government investigation of war crimes during liberation war
In the twenty-first century, the Bangladesh government established an International Crimes Tribunal to hear cases resulting from investigations of war crimes during the struggle for independence. It was an effort to "provide justice for victims of atrocities in the 1971 war of independence." There had been longstanding accounts of abuses during the war, including forced conversion of Hindus to Islam, sectarian attacks on minority Hindu communities, raping of women, and attacks on unarmed civilians, among the excesses. On 24 July 2009, immigration officials at Zia International Airport prevented Sayeedi from going abroad. He challenged the Government's restriction by filing a writ petition with the High Court on 27 July. The Attorney General stated before the Chamber Judge that Mawlana Sayeedi had opposed the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. He argued that if Sayeedi was not barred from foreign travel, he might work against the government's efforts to bring justice for war crimes during that conflict. Human Rights Watch in November 2011 criticised the conduct of the ICT, suggesting that it has not provided enough protection for the defense of the accused. It has said that "lawyers representing the accused before the ICT have reported being harassed by state officials and threatened with arrests. Several witnesses and an investigator working for the defense have also reported harassment by police and threats for cooperating with the defense." "Human Rights Watch has long called for the ICT to establish an effective victim and witness program which would ensure protection for both prosecution and defense witnesses. Changes to the ICT rules in June 2011, which authorized the tribunal to ensure the physical well-being of victims and witnesses, were a welcome improvement, but did not go far enough, Human Rights Watch said."
War crimes trials
Mahbubul Alam Howladar, a former freedom fighter, and now member and deputy commander of the freedom fighters association called Zianagor upazila Muktijoddha Sangsad, filed charges against Sayeedi with the Pirojpur senior judicial magistrate's court in Zianagar.
The war crime trials of Sayeedi began on 20 November 2011 at the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh. The tribunal charged him with twenty counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and arson, during the liberation war. Some of the charges are (a) passing secret information on the gathering of people behind the Madhya Masimpur bus-stand to the Pakistan Army, and leading the Army there, where 20 unnamed people were killed by shooting; (b) abducting and killing of government officials (deputy magistrate – Saif Mizanur Rahman, sub-divisional police officer – Foyezur Rahman Ahmed, and sub-divisional officer – Abdur Razzak) of Pirojpur; (c) identifying and looting the houses and shops of people belonging to the Awami League, Hindu community, and supporters of the Liberation War at Parerhat Bazar under Pirojpur Sadar; (d) leading an operation, accompanied by Pakistan Army, to burn 25 houses of the Hindu community at Umedpur village (under the jurisdiction of Indurkani Police Station); (e) leading the group who abducted three women from the house of Gouranga Saha of Parerhat Bandar and handed them over to the Pakistan army for raping.
Sultan Ahmed Howlader, the fourth prosecution witness in the trial, testified that, during the liberation war, Sayeedi and his associate Moshleuddin confined Bipod Shaha's daughter Vanu Shaha at Parerhat, Pirojpur district and regularly raped her. Another witness testified that Sayeedi had organised the Razakar militia, a paramilitary force that aided the Pakistan army at Pirojpur.
The trial saw 28 witnesses for the prosecution and 16 for the defence. In addition, the tribunal received 16 witness statements given to the investigator after the prosecution argued that those witnesses were either dead, or that producing them before the tribunal would incur unreasonable delay or expenditure.
On 5 November 2012, Sukhranjan Bali, a prosecution witness who instead testified as a defense witness, was abducted outside the International Crimes Tribunal allegedly by the Bangladesh Police. Human rights group believed it to be a case of forced disappearance. Later, Bali was handed over to India's Border Security Force, and was sentenced to prison and tortured. "The apparent abduction of a witness in a trial at the ICT is a cause for serious concern about the conduct of the prosecution, judges and government," said a spokesperson for HRW.
The tribunal found Sayeedi guilty in 8 of the 20 charges, including mass killing, rape, arson, looting and forcing minority Hindus to convert to Islam during 1971. On 28 February 2013, the tribunal sentenced him to death by hanging for two charges among the eight committed during the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh.
As per the verdict, Sayeedi was awarded capital punishment for the offenses as listed in charge Nos. 8 and 10. The court refrained from passing any separate sentence of imprisonment for the offences listed in charges Nos.6,7,11,14,16 and 19 which it said had been proved beyond reasonable doubt. At the same time, the accused was found not guilty to the offenses of crimes against humanity as listed in charges nos. 1,2,3,4,5,9,12,13,15,17,18 and 20 and was acquitted from the said charges.
The Economist criticised the trial, stating that the presiding judge had resigned and Sayeedi's death sentence was handed down by three men who had not heard all the witnesses. The trial was supported by European Union.
Sayeedi's advocate, Abdur Razzaq, accused authorities of preventing a key witness from testifying and making the process biased. Many Islamic organisations around the world were enraged by the decision, claiming the case against Sayeedi was politically motivated. Sayeedi said the verdict was not neutral. The party quickly called for a nationwide two-day strike to start 3 March 2013.
By afternoon on the day of the protest, had erupted across Bangladesh between Islamic activists and police forces. By the end of 3 March 2013, almost 200 people were killed from police forces, mostly Islamic activists. An estimated 5000 protesters were injured countrywide. According the BBC, it marked "The worst day of political violence in Bangladesh in decades".
Verdict of the appeal
On 17 September 2014, the Appellate Division of the Bangladesh Supreme Court reduced the sentence of Delwar Hossain Sayedee from the death penalty to ‘imprisonment till death’ for war crimes against Bengali people in 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.
- "Sayedee verdict Thursday". The Daily Star. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.[dead link]
- "Bangladesh war crimes trial: Delwar Hossain Sayeedi to die". BBC. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- REUTERS, 28 February 2013
- "Seeking war crimes justice, Bangladesh protesters fight 'anti-Islam' label", CNN.com, 27 February 2013
- "Bangladesh Jamaat leader sentenced to death". Al Jazeera. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- Tanim, Ahmed (28 February 2013). "Sayedee to hang". bdnews24. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- Ullah, Ansar Ahmed (3, February 2012). "Vote of trust for war trial". The Daily Star.
- "Bangladesh: Government Backtracks on Rights". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- "Huge Bangladesh rally seeks death penalty for war crimes". BBC. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
- সাইদখালির শিকদার যেভাবে হলেন সাঈদী - BBC Bangla - খবর
- Zunaid Kazi. "History : The Bangali Genocide, 1971". Virtual Bangladesh. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- Rummel, Rudolph. "Chapter 8: Statistics of Pakistan's Democide Estimates, Calculations, And Sources". Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900. p. 544. ISBN 978-3-8258-4010-5.
"...They also planned to indiscriminately murder hundreds of thousands of its Hindus and drive the rest into India. ... This despicable and cutthroat plan was outright genocide'.
- "Bangladesh war crimes trial: Delwar Hossain Sayeedi to die". BBC News. 28 February 2013.
- "Bangladesh party leader accused of war crimes in 1971 conflict". The Guardian (London). 3 October 2011.
- "Delwar Hossain Sayedee, Bangladesh Islamic Party Leader, Sentenced To Death Over War Crimes". Huffington Post. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
- http://www.banglanews24.com/detailsnews.php?nssl=a10e1e1d41e5f6c80b98614eb5ff4298&nttl=28022013177782[dead link]
- "Sayedee to hang". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Quader Molla was "innocent": Imran Khan". bdnews24.com. 17 Dec 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- "Bangladesh lawmaker in US 'no fly list'" at the Wayback Machine (archived January 3, 2005), Yahoo News.
- Brogan, Benedict (13 July 2006). "Extremist linked cleric given green light to enter Britain", Daily Mail .
- Ford, Richard; Woolcock, Nicola; O’Neill, Sean (14 July 2006) article, The Times.
- Bright, Martin (13 July 2006). "Delwar Hossein Sayeedi". New Statesman.
- article The Times 14 July 2006. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- "Bangladesh: Stop Harassment of Defense at War Tribunal", AlertNet, Reuters, 2 November 2011, accessed 6 March 2013
- "SC stays Sayedee bail in war crimecase". The Daily Star.
- "Sayedee sued for war crimes in Pirojpur", Bangladesh2day, 1 September 2009
- "A report on the newspaper", The Daily Star, published on 1 September 2009.[dead link]
- "Bangladesh 1971 war crimes trial begins". 20 November 2011.
- "Charges brought against Sayedee". The Daily Star. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- "Charges against Sayedee". bdnews24. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- "Sayedee looted houses in 1971, converted Hindus: Witness". New Age. 8 December 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- "Sayeedi regularly raped a Hindu girl: Witness". Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- "Sayeedi formed Razakar Bahini at Pirojpur: Witness". 3 October 2011.
- Bergman, David (2013-05-16). "Witness alleges state abduction". New Age. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- "Shukhoranjan Bali Now Detained in India: HRW". 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
- "Full Sayeedi verdict text in English". Prothom Alo. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
- "Justice in Bangladesh: Another kind of crime". The Economist. 2013-03-20. Retrieved 2013-04-18.
- Associated Press in Dhaka (28 February 2013). "Bangladesh sentences Jamaat-e-Islami leader to death for war crimes". The Guardian (London).
- আপনারা বিচার করতে পারেননি: সাঈদী - প্রথম আলো
- Julfikar Ali Manik; Jim Yardley (1 March 2013). "Death Toll From Bangladesh Unrest Reaches 44". New York Times. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Arun Devnath; Andrew MacAskill (1 March 2013). "Clashes Kill 35 in Bangladesh After Islamist Sentenced to Hang". Bloomberg. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Naim-Ul-Karim (2 March 2013). "4 dead, hundreds injured as riots continue in Bangladesh". Xinhua. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- "Bangladesh deaths rise as Jamaat protest strike begins". BBC. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "Bangladesh war crimes verdict sparks more violence". BBC. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Haroon Habib (17 September 2014). "Top Jamaat leader Sayedee to be in prison until death". Retrieved 19 September 2014.