Delwar Hossain Sayeedi
Bangladeshi Muslim Scholar and Preacher
Delwar Hossain Sayeedi
Delawar Hossain Sayedee, is a Bangladeshi Islamist politician, orator and a former Member of Parliament in the National Assembly of Bangladesh from 1996 to 2008. He was falsely indicted with 20 counts of crimes against humanity by the International War Crimes Tribunal on October 4, 2011 under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973 .
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  • 2014
    Age 59
    In September 2014 the Supreme Court commuted his sentence to life imprisonment.
    More Details Hide Details Sayeedi was born in a village located in Indurkani, Pirojpur (Barisal Division), present-day Bangladesh. His father Yusuf Sayedee was an Islamic orator. Allama Sayeedi received his first primary religious education at his local village madrassa, which was built by his father.
  • 2012
    Age 57
    On 5 November 2012, Sukhranjan Bali, a prosecution witness who instead testified as a defense witness, was abducted outside the International Crimes Tribunal allegedly by the Bangladesh Police.
    More Details Hide Details Human rights group believed it to be a case of forced disappearance. Later, Bali was handed over to India's Border Security Force, and was sentenced to prison and tortured. "The apparent abduction of a witness in a trial at the ICT is a cause for serious concern about the conduct of the prosecution, judges and government," said a spokesperson for Human Rights Watch.
  • 2011
    Age 56
    The war crime trials of Sayeedi began on 20 November 2011 at the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh.
    More Details Hide Details The tribunal charged him with twenty counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and arson, during the liberation war. Some of the charges are (a) passing secret information on the gathering of people behind the Madhya Masimpur bus-stand to the Pakistan Army, and leading the Army there, where 20 unnamed people were killed by shooting; (b) abducting and killing of government officials (deputy magistrate – Saif Mizanur Rahman, sub-divisional police officer – Foyezur Rahman Ahmed, and sub-divisional officer – Abdur Razzak) of Pirojpur; (c) identifying and looting the houses and shops of people belonging to the Awami League, Hindu community, and supporters of the Liberation War at Parerhat Bazar under Pirojpur Sadar; (d) leading an operation, accompanied by Pakistan Army, to burn 25 houses of the Hindu community at Umedpur village (under the jurisdiction of Indurkani Police Station); (e) leading the group who abducted three women from the house of Gouranga Saha of Parerhat Bandar and handed them over to the Pakistan army for raping.
  • 2009
    Age 54
    On 12 August 2009, Manik Poshari filed a war crime case in Pirojpur against Sayeedi and four others.
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    On 24 July 2009, immigration officials at Zia International Airport prevented Sayeedi from going abroad.
    More Details Hide Details He challenged the Government's restriction by filing a writ petition with the High Court on 27 July. The Attorney General stated before the Chamber Judge that Mawlana Sayeedi had opposed the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. He argued that if Sayeedi was not barred from foreign travel, he might work against the government's efforts to bring justice for war crimes during that conflict. Human Rights Watch in November 2011 criticised the conduct of the ICT, suggesting that it has not provided enough protection for the defense of the accused. It has said that "lawyers representing the accused before the ICT have reported being harassed by state officials and threatened with arrests." Several witnesses and an investigator working for the defense have also reported harassment by police and threats for cooperating with the defense." "Human Rights Watch has long called for the ICT to establish an effective victim and witness program which would ensure protection for both prosecution and defense witnesses. Changes to the ICT rules in June 2011, which authorized the tribunal to ensure the physical well-being of victims and witnesses, were a welcome improvement, but did not go far enough, Human Rights Watch said."
  • 2006
    Age 51
    He was invited to speak at the East London Mosque on 14 July 2006; the then-secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Muhammad Abdul Bari, supported his invitation.
    More Details Hide Details In the twenty-first century, the Bangladesh government established an International Crimes Tribunal to hear cases resulting from investigations of war crimes during the struggle for independence. It was an effort to "provide justice for victims of atrocities in the 1971 war of independence." There had been longstanding accounts of abuses during the war, including forced conversion of Hindus to Islam, sectarian attacks on minority Hindu communities, raping of women, and attacks on unarmed civilians, among the excesses.
    In July 2006 Sayeedi travelled to the UK to address rallies in London and Luton; his entry was cleared by the foreign office.
    More Details Hide Details Many British MPs considered his admission to the country to be controversial. In leaked emails reported by The Times, an adviser, Eric Taylor, said that Sayeedi's "previous visits to the UK have been reportedly marred by violence caused by his supporters." On 13 July 2006, the British journalist Martin Bright released a documentary called Who Speaks For Muslims? It included Sayeedi and identified him as having extreme views. Sayeedi has a large following within the British Bangladeshi community.
  • 2004
    Age 49
    In 2004, the United States of America Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) added Sayeedi to its No Fly List, established to prevent suspected radicals and terrorists from flying into the US.
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  • 1996
    Age 41
    Having gained recognition, he was elected as a member of parliament for constituency Pirojpur-1 in the 1996 and 2001 national elections of Bangladesh.
    More Details Hide Details Sayeedi is fluent in Bengali, Urdu, Arabic, and Punjabi and has an advanced knowledge of English and French.
  • 1971
    Age 16
    The tribunal found Sayeedi guilty in 8 of the 20 charges, including mass killing, rape, arson, loot and force minority Hindus to convert to Islam during 1971.
    More Details Hide Details On 28 February 2013, the tribunal sentenced him to death by hanging for two charges among the eight committed during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. As per the verdict, Sayeedi was awarded capital punishment for the offenses as listed in charge Nos. 8 and 10. The court refrained from passing any separate sentence of imprisonment for the offences listed in charges Nos.6,7,11,14,16 and 19 which it said had been proved beyond reasonable doubt. At the same time, the accused was found not guilty to the offenses of crimes against humanity as listed in charges nos. 1,2,3,4,5,9,12,13,15,17,18 and 20 and was acquitted from the said charges. The Economist criticised the trial, stating that the presiding judge had resigned and Sayeedi's death sentence was handed down by three men who had not heard all the witnesses. The trial was supported by European Union.
    His accusations dated to events during the 1971 Bangladeshi war of independence.
    More Details Hide Details Mahbubul Alam Howladar, a former freedom fighter, and now member and deputy commander of the freedom fighters association called Zianagor upazila Muktijoddha Sangsad, filed charges against Sayeedi with the Pirojpur senior judicial magistrate's court in Zianagar.
    Some people say that Sayeedi opposed the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, though they can't show any evident about this.
    More Details Hide Details But awami government said that he involved in some cases the fighting devolved into insurgent and sectarian warfare, with Hindu communities attacked, and paramilitary groups operating independently of national armies. They also said that he was known as "Deilla Razakar" during the liberation war in his locality. His defence at the ICT trials, however, have argued that this was a case of mistaken identity saying that Delwar Hossain Shikdar had been apprehended and executed by freedom fighters after the war. Before this, in the case of war criminal Abdul Quader Molla, who is also a leader of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, the same defence alleged that Quader Molla and ‘Koshai' Quader or ‘Butcher' Quader were not the same person.
    He was recognized as a Muslim cleric, or Maulana in 1971. Longstanding tensions between the eastern province of Bangladesh and the majority government based in western Pakistan gave rise in 1971 to the Bangladesh liberation war. On 25 March 1971 Pakistan military started armed operation on unarmed Bengali people and killed hundreds of them in that night and the atrocities have been referred to as acts of genocide.
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  • 1962
    Age 7
    Sayeedi attended the Sarsina Alia Madrasah in 1962, followed by the Khulna Alia Madrasah.
    More Details Hide Details Sayeedi started a business in a local village market after completing his religious studies.
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