Arrest warrant issued, trial to begin July 30
A tribunal in Dhaka Thursday accepted charges of war crimes against fugitive Faridpur BNP leader MA Zahid Hossain Khokon, known as Khokon Razakar.
The court issued an arrest warrant against Khokon, the incumbent mayor of Nagarkanda municipality in Faridpur.
The charge framing hearing will begin on July 30, Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, chairman of the three-member panel of International Crimes Tribunal-1, announced after taking the charges into cognisance.
Now 70, Khokon was a local leader of Razakar in Faridpur district during the 1971 Liberation War.
Khokon was involved in at least 13 incidents of war crimes, which left at least 50 people dead, eight others seriously injured and two women raped, according to the charges levelled against him.
Besides, the suspect was involved in forced conversion of nine Hindus, setting fire to numerous houses and two temples, and deportation of seven people, it added.
Accepting the charges, the tribunal said Thursday that it found evidence of Khokon’s involvement in all the 10 charges brought against him.
“Upon perusal (examination) of the document it appears that there is strong prima facie (sufficient to establish a fact or raise a presumption unless disproved) case against Khokon,” the chairman said while accepting the charges.
“We are inclined to take cognisance of offence under International Crimes (Tribunals) Act-1973,” he added.
The prosecution on June 23 submitted the charges against Khokon to the ICT-1 through its registrar’s office.
The investigation agency formed to probe war crimes completed investigation into Khokon’s alleged war crimes on May 29.
According to the investigation agency, Khokon, who was a close associate of Abul Kalam Azad, a condemned war criminal from Faridpur, had taken part in an election campaign for a Jamaat-e-Islami candidate in 1970, and was involved with the party. Later, he joined the BNP.
As the vice-president of Nagarkanda unit BNP, Khokon contested the municipality election in 2011 and became its mayor. After taking the oath, he went into hiding and the agency “assumed” that he is now in Sweden with his son and daughter.
Source: The Daily Star