Delwar Hossain Sayeedi

Delwar Hossain Sayeedi
দেলাওয়ার হোসাইন সাঈদী
Vice President of
Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami
Member of Parliament
for Pirojpur-1
In office
12 June 1996  29 December 2008
Preceded by Shudangsu Shekhor Halder
Succeeded by AKMA Awal (Saeedur Rahman)
Personal details
Born Pirojpur, Bengal Presidency, British India ,(present-day pirojpur , Bangladesh)
Nationality Bangladeshi
Political party Jamaat-e-Islami bangladesh
Spouse(s) Sheikha Saleha Begum
Children Rafiq Bin Sayeedi, Shameem Sayeedi, Masood Sayeedi, Naseem Sayedee
Father Moulana Yousuf Sayeedi
Occupation Politics, Dawah

Delwar Hossain Sayeedi is a Bangladeshi Islamic scholar, speaker and politician and convicted war criminal of the Bangladesh liberation war. He was a former member of Parliament of the Parliament of Bangladesh from 1996 to 2008. The International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh sentenced him to death in February 2013 for crimes against humanity in the war of 1971 in a disputed decision.[1][2][3][4][5] It is believed that his crimes included genocide, mass murder, rape and arson. The tribunal received support within Bangladesh,[6] but was criticized by several international observers.[7][8][9] In September 2014 the Supreme Court commuted his sentence to life imprisonment.[10][11][12]

Early life

Sayeedi was born in a village located in Indurkani, Pirojpur (Barisal Division)February 01,1940, 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.[13] Sayeedi attended the Sarsina Alia Madrasah in 1962, followed by the Khulna Alia Madrasah.[13] Sayeedi started a business in a local village market after completing his religious studies. He was recognized as a Razakar in 1971.

Bangladesh liberation war

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. The ruling Pakistani elite, consisting of Punjabis and Pathans, thought that the Bengalis were inferior.[14][15] The straw that broke the camel's back was the imposition of Urdu as the state language of Pakistan, a move which angered the already upset Bengali people. 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.[16] The Pakistani Army along with Bihari Muslims migrants from India (Razakars who were hand in glove with Sayeedi and others like him) unleashed war crimes on the Bengali population. Post independence many such Bihari's now live in exile in Bangladesh while continuously seeking repatriation with (West) Pakistan.[17]

His defence at the ICT trials, however, have alleged that this was a case of mistaken identity saying that Delwar Hossain Shikdar had been apprehended and executed by freedom fighters after the war.[18] 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.[19] In both cases as shown here, the defence for lack of better evidence tried to work with the only recourse available to it; alternate names or aliases were the core arguments for the defence.

Sayeedi also opposed the independence of Bangladesh and was concerned that the Dar-ul-Islam established by the creation of Pakistan was endangered by the independence of Bangladesh.[20][5][21]

Entry into politics

Having gained recognition, he was elected as a member of parliament for constituency Pirojpur-1 in the 1996 and 2001 national elections of Bangladesh.[22]

Sayeedi is fluent in Bengali, Urdu, Arabic, and Punjabi and has an advanced knowledge of English and French.[13]

Critic of 2001 war in Afghanistan

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.[23]

Foreign travel controversy

In July 2006 Sayeedi travelled to the UK to address rallies in London and Luton; his entry was cleared by the foreign office.[24] 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."[25]

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.[26] Sayeedi has a large following within the British Bangladeshi community. 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.[25]

Government investigation of war crimes during liberation war

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."[27] 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. On 24 July 2009, immigration officials at Zia International Airport prevented Sayeedi from going abroad. 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."[27] "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."[27]

War crimes trials


On 12 August 2009, Manik Poshari filed a war crime case in Pirojpur against Sayeedi and four others after substantial pressure and threat to his life & family from the present ruling party Awami League.[28] His accusations dated to events during the 1971 Bangladeshi war of independence.

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.[29]

The war crime trials of Sayeedi began on 20 November 2011 at the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh. The tribunal charged him with twenty counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and arson, during the liberation war.[30] 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.[31][32][33][34]

Sultan Ahmed Howlader, the fourth prosecution witness in the trial, testified that, during the liberation war, Sayeedi and his associate Moshleuddin confined Bipod Shaha's daughter Vanu Shaha at Parerhat, Pirojpur district and regularly raped her.[31][34] Another witness testified that Sayeedi had organised the Razakar militia, a paramilitary force that aided the Pakistan army at Pirojpur.[35]

The trial saw 28 witnesses for the prosecution and 16 for the defence. In addition, the tribunal received 16 witness statements given to the investigator after the prosecution argued that those witnesses were either dead, or that producing them before the tribunal would incur unreasonable delay or expenditure.[18]


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.[36] 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.[36][37] "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.[37] Bali had been expected to counter prosecution allegations about Sayeedi's involvement in the 1971 murder of Bali’s brother.[38]


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. 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.[5][2][1]

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.[39]

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.[40] The trial was supported by European Union.[7]

The defendant's lawyers boycotted the trial and have said that the charges against Sayeedi and others were politically motivated.[5][41]


Sayeedi said the verdict was not neutral.[42] The lack of evidence provided in the trial as well as the potential for political motivations for Sayeedi's arrest and conviction has led to rights groups like Amnesty International to question the legitimacy of the tribunal and conviction.[43]

By afternoon on the day of the protest, clashes had erupted across Bangladesh between Islamic activists and police forces. An estimated 100 protesters died countrywide.[44][45][46][47] According to BBC, it marked "The worst day of political violence in Bangladesh in decades".[48]

Verdict of the appeal

On 17 September 2014, the Appellate Division of the Bangladesh Supreme Court reduced the sentence of Sayedi from the death penalty to ‘imprisonment till death' for war crimes against Bengali people in Bangladesh liberation war in 1971.[49]

See also


  1. 1 2 Yuan, Elizabeth; Ahmed, Saeed; Ahmed, Farid (27 February 2013). "Seeking war crimes justice, Bangladesh protesters fight 'anti-Islam' label". CNN.
  2. 1 2 Ahmed, Anis (28 February 2013). "Bangladesh Islamist's death sentence sparks deadly riots". Reuters.
  3. Tanim, Ahmed (28 February 2013). "Sayedee to hang". bdnews24. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  4. "Bangladesh Jamaat leader sentenced to death". Al Jazeera. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Bangladesh war crimes trial: Delwar Hossain Sayeedi to die". BBC News. 28 February 2013.
  6. "Huge Bangladesh rally seeks death penalty for war crimes". BBC News. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  7. 1 2 "EU supports war crime trial, wants fairness". The Daily Star. UNB. 28 May 2009.
  8. Ullah, Ansar Ahmed (3 February 2012). "Vote of trust for war trial". The Daily Star.
  9. "Bangladesh: Government Backtracks on Rights". Human Rights Watch. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  10. "Bangladesh Court commits Islamist leader's death sentence to life imprisonment". ITV Radio Nigeria. 17 September 2014.
  11. "Bangladesh Islamist Delwar Sayeedi death sentence commuted". BBC News. 17 September 2014.
  12. "Sayedee verdict Thursday". The Daily Star. 27 February 2013. Archived from the original on 1 March 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  13. 1 2 3 সাইদখালির শিকদার যেভাবে হলেন সাঈদী. BBC Bangla (in Bengali). 8 February 2013.
  14. All INDIA Patriot Community (2014-12-16), Story of Bangladesh - Pakistan tells truth., retrieved 2017-02-03
  15. Great India (2015-06-19), What Pakistani Tells about Bengali, retrieved 2017-02-03
  16. Rummel, Rudolph. "Chapter 8: Statistics of Pakistan's Democide Estimates, Calculations, And Sources". Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900. p. 544. ISBN 978-3-8258-4010-5. Retrieved 10 November 2011. "...They also planned to indiscriminately murder hundreds of thousands of its Hindus and drive the rest into India. ... This despicable and cutthroat plan was outright genocide'.
  17. AP Archive (2015-07-21), The plight of Pakistani refugees in Bangladesh, retrieved 2017-02-03
  18. 1 2 Ahmed, Tanim; Nilo, Suliman (28 February 2013). "Sayedee to hang". Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  19. "Quader Molla was "innocent": Imran Khan". 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  20. Qadri, Syed Rizwan (17 September 2014). "Profile: War Crimes". BBC News.
  21. "Bangladesh party leader accused of war crimes in 1971 conflict". The Guardian. London. Associated Press. 3 October 2011.
  22. "Parliament Election Result of 1991,1996,2001 Bangladesh Election Information and Statistics". Vote Monitor Networks. Archived from the original on 29 December 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  23. "Bangladesh lawmaker in US 'no fly list'". Yahoo News. 16 March 2004. Archived from the original on 3 January 2005.
  24. Brogan, Benedict (13 July 2006). "Extremist linked cleric given green light to enter Britain". Daily Mail.
  25. 1 2 Ford, Richard; Woolcock, Nicola; O'Neill, Sean (14 July 2006). "Islamist hardliner heads for Britain". The Times. Archived from the original on 27 February 2007. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  26. Bright, Martin (13 July 2006). "Delwar Hossein Sayeedi". New Statesman.
  27. 1 2 3 "Bangladesh: Stop Harassment of Defense at War Tribunal". Human Rights Watch. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  28. "SC upholds HC order to allow Sayedee to go abroad". The Daily Star. 25 August 2009.
  29. "Sayedee sued for war crimes in Pirojpur". The Daily Star. 1 September 2009.
  30. "Bangladesh 1971 war crimes trial begins". Hindustan Times. Press Trust of India. 20 November 2011.
  31. 1 2 "Charges brought against Sayedee". The Daily Star. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  32. "Charges against Sayedee". bdnews24. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  33. "Sayedee looted houses in 1971, converted Hindus: Witness". New Age. 8 December 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  34. 1 2 "Sayeedi regularly raped a Hindu girl: Witness". Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha. 21 December 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  35. "Sayeedi formed Razakar Bahini at Pirojpur: Witness". Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha. 3 October 2011.
  36. 1 2 Bergman, David (16 May 2013). "Witness alleges state abduction". New Age. Archived from the original on 7 June 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  37. 1 2 "India: Protect Bangladesh War Crimes Trial Witness". Human Rights Watch. 16 May 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  38. "Human Rights Report 2013" (PDF). Odhikar. 14 April 2014. p. 69. Retrieved 22 February 2017 via International Federation for Human Rights.
  39. "Full Sayeedi verdict text in English". Prothom Alo. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  40. "Justice in Bangladesh: Another kind of crime". The Economist. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  41. "Bangladesh sentences Jamaat-e-Islami leader to death for war crimes". The Guardian. London. Associated Press. 28 February 2013.
  42. আপনারা বিচার করতে পারেননি: সাঈদী [You can not judge: Sayeedi]. Prothom Alo (in Bengali). 28 February 2013. Archived from the original on 2 March 2013.
  43. International, Amnesty (2011). Amnesty International Report 2011: The State of the World's Human Rights (PDF) (Report). Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  44. Julfikar Ali Manik; Jim Yardley (1 March 2013). "Death Toll From Bangladesh Unrest Reaches 44". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  45. Arun Devnath; Andrew MacAskill (1 March 2013). "Clashes Kill 35 in Bangladesh After Islamist Sentenced to Hang". Bloomberg. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  46. Naim-Ul-Karim (2 March 2013). "4 dead, hundreds injured as riots continue in Bangladesh". Xinhuanet. Xinhua. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  47. "Bangladesh deaths rise as Jamaat protest strike begins". BBC News. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  48. "Bangladesh war crimes verdict sparks more violence". BBC News. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  49. Haroon Habib (17 September 2014). "Top Jamaat leader Sayedee to be in prison until death". The Hindu. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
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