War criminal Mahbubur Rahman has been handed down death sentence over his involvement in three mass killings, including the murders of Ranada Prasad Saha, well-known as RP Saha, and his son Bhabani Prasad Saha, in Tangail during the Liberation War in 1971.
A three-member panel of the International Crimes Tribunal-1 led by Justice Md Shahinur Islam passed the verdict on Thursday.
According to the court’s observation, Mahbub was a member of the locally formed Razakar Bahini – a para-militia force notorious for assisting the Pakistani army in carrying out mass killings in Bangladesh in 1971.
Read full verdict HERE
Why do people call RP Saha ‘The Great Philanthropist or Danbir’?
Bangabandhu called him 'Dada'
‘He was an institution’
The tribunal observed that without the “active, culpable, and enthusiastic” involvement of Mahbub, it would not have been possible to carry out “planned” and “systematic” mass killings of targeted Hindu civilians, including RP Saha, in the area.
RP Saha’s family members, who were present in the court, expressed satisfaction over the verdict.
Razib Prasad Saha, son of Bhabani Prasad Saha and grandson of RP Saha, said, “We are thankful to the court for this verdict. We have waited 48 years for justice which we have got finally.”
At the court, prosecutor Rana Das Gupta represented the state while Gazi MH Tamim stood for accused Mahbub.
Prosecutor Rana Das Gupta said, “We have been able to prove all three charges [against Mahbub] beyond doubt. Total 13 witnesses, including the investigation officer, testified in the case.”
On the other hand, defence lawyer MH Tamim said, “During the Liberation War Mahbubur Rahman helped freedom fighters, and his two brothers are also certified freedom fighters.
“We will go against this verdict in the Appellate Division. I also want justice for killing RP Saha but my client is not responsible for his death.”
In its observation, the court said all the three charges brought against Mahbub are not “isolated” from the massive genocide during the Liberation War.
The court also observed that the Pakistani army and their local cohorts – Razakars – targeted the victims of mass killings in Tangail because they were Hindu, which reflects the perpetrators’ highest degree of hostility.
It was proved to the court that accused Mahbub formed a para-militia force locally to “aid”, “abet”, “facilitate” and “substantially assist” the Pakistani occupation army to perform the heinous crimes against humanity at villages in Tangail’s Mirzapur area.
“All the offences proved were diabolical and gravely violent in nature for which the accused is found to have had a contribution, complicity, and explicit participation,” it said.
What happened in Tangail in 1971
On May 14, 1971, a group of some 50 armed Razakars, including Mahbubur Rahman, launched an attack on six villages of Mirzapur in Tangail.
They detained 22 Hindus and tortured them mercilessly. Later, Mahbub brought in Pakistani army men who brutally killed the detainees.
Proceedings against Mahbub
Mahbub, who had been arrested in another case, was shown arrested in a case of crimes against humanity, under the International Crimes Tribunal Act 1973, on November 7, 2017.
The prosecution submitted a formal charge-sheet against him on January 11, 2018.
On March 28, 2018, the tribunal framed three charges of crimes against humanity against Mahbub.
On April 24 this year, the court kept the verdict on waiting after both the prosecution and the defence had concluded their arguments.