All charges against Quader Mollah→ Staff Correspondent
The Supreme Court in a historic judgement awarded Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah death penalty for his crimes against humanity committed during the liberation war in 1971.A five-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain passed the verdict on September 17, 2013. The verdict came following an appeal filed by the prosecution against the ICT verdict which sentenced Mollah to life imprisonment.
A defence appeal filed by Quader Mollah seeking his acquittal was, however, rejected by the SC.This is the first verdict of the apex court in the history of independent Bangladesh in a case involving crimes against humanity.A total of six charges were brought against Quader Mollah. On February 5, 2013, International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) sentenced Jamaat assistant secretary general Abdul Quader Mollah to life imprisonment on charge Nos. 5 and 6 out of six counts. He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment on charge Nos. 1, 2 and 3. The ICT acquitted him of charge No. 4.The verdict sparked countrywide protest by freedom fighters, political activists, students and young generation as the punishment was inadequate in their opinion.
Originally there was no provision of appeal by the prosecution against inadequate sentence of war crimes convict.
In response to the growing demand for death sentence, the government amended the law to allow appeal against inadequate punishment.
Subsequently, the prosecution filed an appeal on March 3, 2013 seeking Mollah’s death sentence. The next day, the defence filed another appeal for his acquittal.
The prosecution appeal was heard over 39 working days.
Seven amici curiae submitted their arguments on the point whether amended provision of ICT Act allowing prosecution to file appeal against inadequate punishment of an accused could be applied to the case of Mollah.
Five amici curiae supported retrospective effect of the law while two others opposed it.
After hearing the appeals for nearly 40 working days, the SC kept the case awaiting verdict (CAV) on July 23.
It was an election pledge of the incumbent Awami League-led alliance government to punish the war criminals.
Charges in details
*The first charge states that Mirpur Bangla College student Pallab was shot dead at the behest of Quader Mollah on April 5, 1971.
*Second charge says he along with others killed poet Meherunnesa, her mother and two brothers at their Mirpur-6 residence on March 27, 1971.
*According to the third charge, he and his accomplices abducted journalist Khandkar Abu Taleb from Arambagh area and slaughtered him at Jalladkhana at Mirpur-10 on March 29, 1971.
*The fourth charge says on November 25, 1971, Quader along with 60-70 Razakers had gone to Khanbari and Ghotar Char, now Shahid Nagar in Keraniganj, raided the house of one Mozaffar Ahmed Khan and two freedom fighters, Osman Gani and Golam Mostafa, and killed the three by charging bayonet.
They opened fire indiscriminately killing several hundred unarmed civilians on November 25, 1971.
*As per the fifth allegation, he with the help of Pakistani forces and non-Bangalee Razakars (collaborators) attacked Alubdi village of Mirpur on April 24, 1971, killing more than 344 people.
*The sixth charge say that he along with Pakistani forces killed Hajrat Ali Laskar, his wife, two daughters and a two-year-old son at their Mirpur-12 residence on March 26, 1971.
Quader ordered a group of Biharis (Urdu speaking people) and Pakistani occupation army to shoot Hazrat Ali, to slaughter his pregnant wife and two daughters and slam his two-year-old son against the ground and kill him at their house on Kalapani Lane in Mirpur on March 26, 1971.
Ali’s another 11-year-old daughter was raped and killed in presence of Quader Mollah. About 12 men raped his daughter.
The only survivor, Momena, the eldest daughter of Hazrat Ali, who was 12 at that time, had hidden herself under a bed, but fainted seeing the brutality.
Comparison between ICT and SC verdicts
On charge No. 6, Mollah was awarded life imprisonment by ICT and death sentence by the SC.
He was acquitted by the ICT but was sentenced to life imprisonment by the SC on charge No. 4.
Mollah was sentenced to life imprisonment by both ICT and SC on charge No. 5.
Besides, ICT verdicts sentencing him to imprisonment for 15 years on charge nos. 1, 2, 3 upheld by the SC.
Solitary witness Momena
As Momena narrated the heartrending story, she fainted at the tribunal.
Daughter of the ill-fated couple, Momena, described how Quader Mollah along with his accomplices killed her parents and sisters brutally.
Momena said she managed to hide himself after being raped in a critically injured condition and one neighbour rescued her and later sent her to father-in-law’s house.
She said she was suffering from hallucination for many years, but her mother-in-law used to console her.
In July 2012, Momena Begum gave an oral testimony to the tribunal with only the judges and lawyers present.
She told the court that on March 26, 1971, a group of men had come to her father’s house and killed six members of the family.
“My father was running towards the house and said ‘Quader Mollah will kill me’,” she said.
“When the men entered the room, Quader Mollah pulled my father by the collar, and dragged him out of the house,” she said. The men then killed her mother, three sisters (one of whom was first raped) and a baby brother.
Birth and Student Politics
Abdul Quader Mollah, son of late Sanaulla Mollah of Amirabad village in Faridpur, was born on December 2, 1948.
He joined Students’ Union in 1961 as a student of class eight of Amirabad Fajlul Huq Institution.
Quader Mollah secured degree (pass) in 1968 from Government Rajendra College and got admitted to Dhaka University in 1969 for master’s in physics.
While he was a student of BSc first-year at Rajendra College in 1966, he left Students’ Union and joined Islami Chhatra Sangha.
At the end of the second-year of his BSc course, he got the charge of presidency of the college section of the Sangha.
As a resident of Shahidullah Hall, he was elected president of the hall unit of the organisation. In February 1977, Islami Chhatra Sangha turned into Islami Chhatra Shibir and he joined the offshoot as a member of the executive committee. In 1977, he joined Jamaat-e-Islami.
A case was filed against Mollah and other Jamaat leaders with Keraniganj Police Station on Dec 17, 2007 for killing a person named Mostofa during the Liberation War. Another case was lodged against him with Pallabi Police Station in 2008. He was arrested on July 13, 2010 in connection with the second case.