Abul Kalam Azad (politician)
|Abul Kalam Azad|
Faridpur, Bengal Presidency, British Raj (now Bangladesh)
He was the first of nine prominent Jamaat-e-Islami members accused of war crimes by the International Crimes Tribunal-2 of Bangladesh to be convicted for crimes against humanity, including murder and rape. On 21 January 2013 Azad was sentenced to hanging for his crimes.
Abul Kalam Azad was born on 5 March 1947 to an impoverished farmer, Abdus Salam Mia and his wife of Barakhardia village, under Saltha Police Station of Faridpur District. After attending a qawmi madrasa, he was a student at Rajendra College in Faridpur.
In the 1980s Azad became a regular speaker at a major mosque in Dhaka. He also led an Islamic charity. In 1999, he founded the MACCA, a social charity. Reflecting on its activities he said "We strongly believe that religion and development should work together to help people. We believe development work is only sustainable through religion; otherwise sustainable development is impossible." As part of his social activism, he involved MACCA in an awareness campaign against AIDS.
Bangladesh Liberation War 1971
The investigations alleged that during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, he, then known as "Bachchu", aged 24, was a close associate of Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, then president of the East Pakistan Islami Chhatra Sangha, the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami. It opposed the independence of Bnagladesh, as its leaders believed that breaking up the Muslim state of Pakistan went against Islam. Before the formation of the Razakar paramilitary force, Azad is known to have actively aided the Pakistani army in committing criminal acts.
Azad assisted the Pakistani occupation force as the chief of the Al-Badr force in Faridpur; the members of the force were young men mostly drawn from colleges. He could speak Urdu well because he had studied in a madrasa. As a close associate of the Pakistani army, he participated in committing atrocities on civilians, including the Hindu community and pro-liberation Bangalee people.
In absentia trial
In 2010 the Bangladesh government established the International Crimes Tribunal under a 1973 act of Parliament. It has indicted nine suspects who are prominent Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, and two who are Bangladesh National Party leaders. The government was responding to popular support to have the trials and settle longstanding accusations dating to the liberation war of 1971.
The trial was held in absentia because Azad went into hiding hours before Tribunal-2 issued an arrest warrant against him on 3 April 2012. He is believed to have fled to India or Pakistan. The court appointed a defence attorney for him, Supreme Court lawyer Abdus Sukur Khan.
Azad was indicted on eight counts for murder, rape and genocide. Investigators alleged that they had identified 14 people murdered by Bachchu: three were women he had raped and nine were other abducted civilians. Testimony was offered by 22 prosecution witnesses, including friends and families of the victims. The prosecution said that Bachchu had burnt down at least five houses, looted 15, and forced at least nine Hindu persons to convert to Islam.
On January 2013, his trial was the first to be completed; he was convicted of war crimes, on six of eight counts, including murder of unarmed civilians and rape committed during the War. On 21 January 2013 Azad was sentenced to the death penalty.
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- Bodakowski, Michael. "A Discussion with Abul Kalam Azad, Chairman, Masjid Council-Bangladesh". Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. Georgetown University. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- Esack, Farid; de jong, Folkert (2007). "Muslims Responding To AIDS: Mapping Muslim Organizational and Religious Responses" (PDF). CHART (2): 87. Retrieved 28 February 2016.[permanent dead link]
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- "Management". MACCA. Retrieved 28 February 2016.