ANWAR PARVEZ HALIM
Barrister Abdur Razzak, the main legal counsel for Jamaat’s accused leaders, has been abroad for almost three months now; when will he return?
Barrister Abdur Razzak, Assistant Secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami is not likely to return home anytime soon. He is presently in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah. He left Dhaka on December 17. The very next day a case was filed against him at the Kalabagan PS for destructive activities under the Explosives Acts.
The case was filed the day after he left Dhaka, December 18, naming him as the accused along with a number of other local Jamaat workers. The case was filed by Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police Abul Kalam Azad.
This investigating officer is presently in training in Tangail. Speaking to PROBE over the phone, he said, “Musharraf Hossain, Jamaat’s Kalabagan unit Secretary, has been arrested under this case. However, Barrister Razzak’s name may be dropped. Mohammed Iqbal, Officer-in-Charge at the Kalabagan police station, refrains from making any comment on the issue.
In the meantime, Barrister Razzak’s absence has thrown the junior lawyers dealing the cases of Jamaat leaders under the International War Crimes Tribunal, into a quandary. They lack the experience and skills in dealing with the Appellate Division. Tajul Islam, legal counsel to certain accused Jamaat leaders, says, “Barrister Razzak is an experienced lawyer. It is difficult to argue cases in the Appellate Division without him.”
Abdur Razzak first left Dhaka for the United States. He then went to London and way staying there. He came to Saudi Arabia last week to perform Umrah. Party sources say he is lobbying among western countries, Muslim countries and international human rights institutions, regarding the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) cases.
Concerning the case against his father, Abdur Razzak’s son Barrister Imran says, “It is undoubtedly a false and a ridiculous case. My father went abroad on December 17. The charges were on December 18. We are really surprised.” He could not say when his father was likely to return.
Jamaat leaders on trial
Ten top Jamaat leaders face charges in the ICT for committing crimes against humanity. These include Professor Ghulam Azam, former Amir of Jamaat; Maulana Matiur Rahman Nizami, the party’s present Amir; Nayeb-e-Amir Maulana AKM Yusuf; Nayeb-e-Amir Maulana Delwar Sayeedi; Nayeb-e-Amir Maulana Abdus Sohban; Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mujahid; Assistant Secretary General Mohammed Qamaruzzaman; Assistant Secretary General Abdul Qader Mollah; ATM Azharul Islam; and Mir Qasem Ali. The main legal representative of these accused Jamaat leaders is the party’s Assistant Secretary General Barrister Abdur Razzak.
In consideration to his age and ailments, Tribunal-1 accorded Professor Ghulam Azam a 90-year prison sentence on July 15 last year. His case presently awaits hearing in the Appellate Division. Hearing of the case against Maulana Matiur Rahman Nizami in Tribunal-2 ended on November 20. The verdict was to be passed, but the pace of the case slowed down as the Tribunal Chairman went into retirement. The case will be heard again in Tribunal-1 and then the verdict passed.
On July 17 and on May 9, Ali Ahsan Mujahid and Qamaruzzaman respectively were sentenced by Tribunal-2 to be hanged. Their case now awaits hearing at the Appellate Division. The hearings of the cases against ATM Azharul Islam and Mir Kasem are underway. At this juncture, Barrister Abdur Razzak left the country on December 17.
It’s a ridiculous and false case: Tajul Islam
Arguing the cases of the accused in court has become uncertain. The spanner has been thrown into the works by Barrister Abdur Razzak leaving the country. After all, he is the main legal counsel for the Jamaat leaders in the ICT and in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. Tajul Islam, another lawyer dealing with these cases, spoke about this crisis. He blames the aggressive attitude of the government for this situation.
“The government is so desperate, they filed charges against Barrister Razzak under the Explosives Act, even though he was abroad at the time. Yet this is a man who has never even joined in a procession. This case is ridiculous and false. We believe the government is intentionally harassing him in this manner so that the Jamaat leaders cannot be defended properly in court.”
Advocate Tajul Islam continues, “Barrister Razzak hasn’t done anything wrong so it is not true that he will not return to the country. Certain quarters are intentionally spreading such rumours.”