By Nargis Rahman, TMO
Rafique Bin Sayedee, son of Jamaat-e-Islami political leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee, was pronounced dead from cardiac arrest at Ibrahim Cardiac Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh on June 13. Rafique felt chest pain during a lunch break in the court room where witnesses in his Delwarâ€™s trial were ongoing cross-examination for Delwarâ€™s alleged war crimes during the Bangladesh 1971 Liberation War against Pakistan.
Last month Rafique visited with Muslims in New York and Michigan and spoke about his fatherâ€™s allegations. Toyab Al-Bari, President of Muslim Ummah of North Americaâ€™s Michigan chapter, said he feels saddened by Rafiqueâ€™s death. â€œA few weeks ago he was with us here and he went back. He was crying in front of 100s of people. â€œ(He said) they unjustly took my father to jail,â€ said Al-Bari, 47, an accountant for the City of Detroit.
Muhammad Azim of Troy, an engineer, said he was 12-years-old during the Liberation War. Although Azim does not know whether or not Delwar was involved in war crimes (Azim said Delwar was not from the same area in Bangladesh), he said he saw the distress left behind by the Pakistani army and Jamaat-e-Islami followers who killed innocent people.
Azim, 52, said the trials conducted by the International Crimes Tribunal have to be fair and just to move on. â€œThis has been lingering for a long long time,â€ he said.
â€œThey deserve a fair trial. If they are found guilty they should be given the highest punishment. The things they did were despicable,â€ he said of those who killed the Bangladeshi army, raped women and burned homes. An estimated 3 million people died in the war.
Delwar was granted parole for two hours to attend his sonâ€™s funeral on June 14. At the funeral site Delwar said he was innocent of alleged war crimes against humanity, mass rape and genocide. He later suffered a minor heart attack after returning to jail. He is in critical condition at the hospital Bangladesh Institute of Research and Rehabilitation for Diabetes, Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders in Dhaka.
Rafique was buried next to the Allama Sayedee Foundation Mosque in Pirojpur, Bangladesh. He was 43.