Posts Tagged ‘Al-Badr militia’

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War criminal turned sharia banker sentenced to death by hanging

November 3, 2014

A former director of the largest sharia bank in Bangladesh has been sentenced to death for war crimes. Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal announced yesterday verdicts of Mir Quasem Ali’s guilt on eight counts of abduction, confinement, and torture; and one count of murder. Ali was found not guilty on four related counts. For the murder charge Ali was sentenced to death by hanging.

In addition to being a co-founder and a former director of the sharia financial house Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd. (IBBL), Ali has reportedly maintained over 100,000 shares worth over 40,000 USD in IBBL. Ali has worn several hats while financing Islamist militants in Bangladesh over the last several decades, including a stint as director of the Bangladeshi branch of the Saudi-sponsored Muslim World League “charitable” foundation that raises money for Islamist fighters. He has also played an instrumental role in financing the Jamaat-e-Islami political party. IBBL itself has been implicated in several terrorist finance schemes and is currently under audit by the government of Bangladesh.

The war crimes charges date back to November and December of 1971 when, as the president the Chittagong chapter of the Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS), the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami militia, and as a member of the Al-Badr death squads, Ali directed torture sessions and at least one murder of pro-independence East Pakistanis (Bangladeshis) at Al-Badr’s rooms in the Dalim Hotel. Interrogations directed by Ali were designed to elicit the whereabouts of civilians and fighters who were sympathetic to the cause of independence.

Findings from the trial include:

  • When a thirsty detainee asked for water during his torture session, Mir Quasem Ali instructed his men to “give him urine to drink.” Referring to the treatment against another victim, Ali said to his men, “seeing him [Shafiul Alam Chowdhury] the detainees here will have some lesson.”
  • On another occasion at the hotel, Ali said of a tortured boy: “he is not dead yet, throw him in [the room] so that the captives understand the consequence of not telling the truth.”
  • Survivor Sanaulla Chowdhury testified that Ali was present during several torture sessions and personally interrogated Chowdhury. Defense lawyers did not dispute Chowdhury’s testimony.
  • Sayed Md. Sarwaruddin testified that Ali and his accomplices “grilled” him for information about freedom fighters and beat him up on explicit orders from Ali after Sarwaruddin refused to answer their questions. Sarwaruddin said he also heard Al-Badr members refer to Ali as “Commander” and “Khan Saheb” [leader/master].
  • Torture tactics included beating detainees with electric wires and hanging them upside down.
  • Iskandar Alam Chowdhury testified that Ali told him “that he would be killed if he did not make disclosure about the freedom fighters,” although defense lawyers argued that Chowdhury had changed his story from earlier testimony.
  • Another witness whose name was transliterated in court documents as “Md. Salauddin @ Chuttu Mia” said that “Mir Quasem Ali threatened to kill and dump him in the river Kornofuli.”
  • Several detainees at Dalim Hotel were shot and dumped into the murky waters of the Karnaphuli including Tuntu Sen and Ranjit Das. Facilitating the murder of teenage detainee Jasim Uddin was ultimately what earned Ali his death sentence.
  • Sunil Kantia Bardhan said that he and five others confined to a room were told they would all be killed if they refused to talk, but the war crimes tribunal did not find his narrative to be credible.
  • Nasiruddin Chowdhury described being abducted and brought to Dalim Hotel where he was beaten by Al-Badr members. When they failed to get information from him, Ali entered the room and asked them why they couldn’t extract information from him, and ordered them to beat him more. They began beating him “indiscriminately with stick, iron rod, electric wire.” Then Ali personally asked, “who are your co-freedom fighters? Where are their shelters and arms?” Still getting no answers, they beat him again till he bled.

Most of the evidence against Ali consisted of eye witness testimony of torture survivors, but in some cases evidence came from second-hand accounts from family members of the deceased, as well as several cases from passages of books written by the victims following Bangladesh’s independence. The evidence appears to be quite consistent in indicating that Ali was in a leadership position over the Al-Badr “muscle” men. The testimony of survivors often depicts Ali giving instructions to Al-Badr members and of impasses at Dalim Hotel being escalated to Ali’s attention.

Ali eventually left the torture rooms of the Dalim Hotel for the board rooms of sharia banking in Bangladesh with Saudi backing.  With 40 years having passed, Ali’s lawyers argued that too much time had elapsed since the alleged crimes for Ali to receive a fair trial.  They also claimed that Ali wasn’t in Chittagong for at least some part of the time period in question, that alleged war criminals received amnesty from prosecution under a 1973 agreement, and that Ali did not have a formal leadership position over the Al-Badr members at Dalim Hotel. The tribunal was not persuaded by those arguments and laid out a 351-page ruling explaining their judgments in detail.

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Sharia banker’s former life as terrorist exposed by shocking allegation

May 1, 2014
Chairman Abu Nasser Muhammad Abduz Zaher

Chairman Abu Nasser Muhammad Abduz Zaher

The chairman of the board of the sharia-compliant financial institution Islami Bank Bangladesh, Limited (IBBL), Abu Nasser Muhammad Abduz Zaher, was a leading member of the Al-Badr militia during the war for Bangladesh’s independence according to an unconfirmed report by a former vice chancellor of Chittagong University writing for the Daily Sun last month.

Al-Badr assassinated and tortured supporters of independence from Pakistan, and some Al-Badr members have been convicted of war crimes. Money Jihad previously revealed that IBBL diverts 8 percent of its profits to terrorist groups as a form of corporate zakat, and that at least one other IBBL board member was named in connection with a terrorist attack against Bangladeshi police. IBBL’s relationship with international bank HSBC was also cited as an example in a U.S. Senate investigation of HSBC’s sloppy counter-terror and anti-money laundering program.

Abdul Mannan indicates that “Professor” Zaher the banker is the same person as Abdul Zaher Mohammed Abu Naser who was an Al-Badr leader. This is entirely plausible because many of the Al-Badr leaders, who were backed not only by Pakistan but by Saudi Arabia as well, were well protected and funded in the years that followed Bangladesh’s independence. The men formed a far-flung and loosely confederated group of charities, trusts, and political entities from Dhaka to London to New York. These men share the same goals of keeping Bangladesh under Pakistan’s sphere of influence and fanning the flames of radical Islam in both countries as a hedge against India. They use sharia banks and Islamic charities to funnel money toward jihadists today.

Thanks to Munazir Hussain Syed for sending in related news.

Jamaat-Shibir: The terror merchants

To begin with many of the readers would not know Abdul Zaher Mohammed Abu Naser, an Al-Badar high command member of 1971 and its District Chief in Chittagong. He was also a member of the central committee of the Islami Chhatra Sangha, the predecessor of the Islami Chhatra Shibir, currently ranked as the third deadliest and fiercest outfit in the world by the IHS Jane’s 2013 Global Terrorism and Insurgency Attack Index from HIS Inc, a leading London based global source of critical information insight. But perhaps the name of Prof. Abu Nasser Muhammad Abduz Zaher would ring the bell amongst few, especially those who are linked with the banking world. An online news correspondent awakes me from my regular afternoon siesta to ask me if these two persons are same. Strangely some of my friends and well-wishers rightly or wrongly think that I have all the clues to unknown facts of our national history. I try to oblige them as best as I can, but never feed them with wrong information. I tell my young friend to give me some time. I go back to my sources and inform him that the person who was an Al-Badar operative in Chittagong in 1971 later served as the personal assistant to the Saudi Ambassador in Bangladesh as well as the Embassy’s Librarian. The current Chairman of the Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) also served in the same capacity for thirteen years, his name seems very similar and claims he passed his MA in English Literature from Rajshahi University. The Al-Badar operative of 1971 studied in Chittagong, and went into hiding like many of his kind to resurface after the killing of Bangabandhu in 1975. I ask my young friend: why has suddenly Prof. Abduz Zaher become so important? He informs me that he was standing in line with the Prime Minister when a group of bankers went to the PMO on February 25 to hand over cheques to the families of the BDR carnage of 2009. I tell him I have given you the information. Now it is the duty of the government agencies and the investigative journalists to dig out the past of Prof. Zaher. Once Quader Mollah was sentenced to death and executed, many of his followers were quick to point out that this Quader Mollah and the Quader Mollah, the butcher of Mirpur in 1971 is not the same person. On that evening I had the misfortune of taking part in a TV talk show with one of the learned advisors of Begum Zia. He was so upbeat in holding on to this theory that at one point I thought the elderly advisor may have a heart attack. I tried to cool him down but to no avail. I told him Mollah is dead and a dead man tells no tale. I tell my young journalist friend some people are hyper lucky. They can go up to the PMO and spend time with the Prime Minister and that is made possible by some of the short-sighted functionaries at PMO. I wish the PM knew who these functionaries were. Things do not stop here. Even some of our very important policymakers in the government and responsible ministers often try to downplay the public perception of Jamaat and its storm trooper Islami Chhatra Shibir and open protective umbrellas over their head and shield them from public disgrace. Good sense seldom prevails amongst these ‘important’ persons. Let us hope someone will take the responsibility to solve the riddle of Abdul Zaher Mohammed Abu Nasser and Prof. Abu Nasser Muhammad Abduz Zaher. With a good intention that should not be a problem. Given a chance sometimes our sleuths can do the impossible…

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Muslim Aid trustee charged with war crimes

May 5, 2013

Islamic charity leader indicted for killing 18 intellectuals

Money Jihad has been contacted by Muslim Aid on a couple occasions in the past (see here and here) to insist upon the innocence of their philanthropic endeavors and to disclaim their organization’s membership in the pro-Hamas network of charitable fronts known as the Union of Good.  Will Muslim Aid also claim to be unaware that at least one of their trustees is a war criminal?

From BBC (h/t to Jurist with a special nod to Mahadib who told Money Jihad that Mueen-Uddin could be indicted) on May 2:

UK community leader Mueen-Uddin indicted in Bangladesh

A British community leader has been indicted in Bangladesh for his alleged role in the killing of 18 people during the 1971 liberation war from Pakistan.

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin strongly denies any role in the murder of 18 intellectuals in December of that year.

He is alleged to have been a member of the Al-Badr group, which identified and killed pro-independence activists.

He is accused with another alleged Al-Badr member, Ashrafuzzaman Khan, a United States citizen.

His lawyers have rejected all the allegations against him. They say that none of the accusations have ever been formally put to him and there has been no attempt to question him.

“The statements made by members of the government of Bangladesh are grossly defamatory to my client, wholly untrue and are refuted in their entirety,” his lawyer Toby Cadman told the BBC.

Mr Cadman’s website carries a detailed rebuttal of all the allegations against Mr Mueen-Uddin.

Holding dual British and Bangladesh citizenship, Mr Mueen-Uddin is a trustee of the UK charity Muslim Aid and played a prominent role in setting up the Muslim Council of Britain.

His website says that he is also the director of Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the UK’s National Health Service.

State prosecutor Syed Haider Ali told the AFP news agency that he “has been indicted for crimes against humanity and genocide”. He said that Mr Mueen-Uddin fled Bangladesh soon after the end of the war.

Mr Khan, now believed to be living in the US, faces the same charges.

An arrest warrant was issued by the International Crimes Tribunal in Dhaka on Thursday for both men, who are accused of “directly taking part” in the killing of the 18 intellectuals between 10 December 10 and 15 December 1971.

Charges were initially put before the tribunal last month – on Thursday it accepted them and ordered their arrests.

Nobody knows exactly how many people were killed in the 1971 war. Bangladesh says up to three million people died, mostly in massacres by the Pakistan army and their local Islamist allies, the Razakar and Al-Badr forces…