War crimes convict Alim dies

Staff Correspondent

War crimes convict Abdul Alim, also former Bangladesh Nationalist Party minister, died on Saturday at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital where he was undergoing treatment.
‘Alim died of cancer at 1:15pm while undergoing treatment at the hospital,’ the director of the hospital, Abdul Majid Bhuiyan, told New Age in the afternoon.
Alim, 83, who was sentenced to imprisonment until his ‘natural death’ on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in Jaipurhat during the 1971 war of independence, had been suffering from cancer since October 2013.
An official at Dhaka Central Jail said that Alim was shifted from the prison cell at the hospital, where he had been staying since October 9, 2013 when he was jailed, to the intensive care unit on August 27, 2014 because of increased respiratory ailments and was put on life-support.
Executive magistrate Amitav Pran Talukder said that Alim’s body would be handed over to his relatives after the post-mortem the Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Alim’s eldest son Foysal Alim said that they appealed to the district magistrate for allowing them to take the body without an autopsy and the appeal was rejected.
He said that Alim would be buried in their home town Jaipurhat and the schedules for the burial and namaz-e-janazas in Jaipurhat and Banani in Dhaka would be decided after getting the body today.
Earlier on February 9, detained war crimes accused AKM Yusuf, also Jamaat-e-Islami nayeb-e-amir, died at the same hospital.
Yusuf, 87, died of cardiac arrest after he fell sick and was brought to the hospital from Kashimpur jail in Gazipur, according to doctors.
On October 9, 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal 2 sentenced Alim to imprisonment until his ‘natural death.’ He became the eighth person to be sentenced for 1971 war crimes.
‘Alim deserved death sentence,’ said the verdict sentencing him to imprisonment for the rest of his life, considering the exceptional circumstances of his severe old age complications and inability to move.
Alim was the first accused to get bail during the trial due to his old age complications.
The tribunal, however, cancelled his bail on October 9, 2013 on his conviction and sentence and sent him to Dhaka central jail. Alim was, however, shifted to prison cell at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital in the same evening.
As the chairman or an influential leader of Peace Committee in Jaipurhat in 1971, Alim was found guilty of facilitating, abetting the criminal acts.
Alim was awarded a ‘single sentence of imprisonment for 20 years’ on four counts – for killing of nine people in Akkelpur of Jaipurhat in May, 1971, for killing four people of Nowda village of Panchbibi in Jaipurhat on May 26, 1971, for killing 15 youths at Paschim Amatra of Jaipurhat on June 14, 1971 and for killing Awami League leader Abul Kashem of Devipur Kajipara in Jaipurhat on July 26, 1971.
Alim jailed for 10 years on charge of looting Awami League leader Meher Uddin’s house at Panchbibi in Jaipurhat on April 20, 1971, setting the house ablaze and forcing deportation of the family from the area.
On June 11, 2012, Alim was indicted with genocide and crimes against humanity on 17 counts of murders, abductions, torture in confinement, deportation, looting and arson.
Alim was born on November 1, 1930 at Pandua village in Hooghli of West Bengal in India. He migrated to the then East-Pakistan with his family in 1950-51 and settled in Jaipurhat. In 1958, he joined the Muslim League and became divisional organising secretary of the party in 1962.
In 1971, he was an influential leader of Convention Muslim League and vice-chairman of Bogra district council.
In 1979, he joined the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and was elected lawmaker and then a minister in Ziaur Rahman’s government.
He was elected lawmaker from Jaipurhat Sadar-Panchbibi constituency in 1979, 1996 and 2001 on BNP tickets.

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