12:00 AM, November 22, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 22, 2012

Quader Mollah is a good man

Defence witness tells war crimes tribunal

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Staff Correspondent

The second defence witness in the war crimes case against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah yesterday gave his testimony before the International Crimes Tribunal-2.
In his 38-minute testimony, Shushil Chandra Mondal, a resident of Quader Mollah's village Amirabad in Faridpur, mostly talked about Mollah's personal, academic and professional life and concluded, "Quader is a very good man."
The 82-year-old witness said he knew the accused since the latter's student life as his school was near his [Shushil's] house.
He added he had seen Mollah, who was in Dhaka for higher education, at their village almost a week after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's historic March 7 speech in 1971. Mollah at that time was living with his sister near Shushil's house, he continued.
On that day, Mollah told Shushil that Dhala Mia Pir, who was acquainted to the Jamaat leader, asked him to live in his house and run a business with his elder son at local Chouddarashi Bazar, said the witness.
"He [Mollah] seldom came to the village and used to live at the house of Pir Shaheb. When we went to market, we used to see him running his business at Pir Shaheb' shop," Shushil added.
"Quader was running his business and one day the Liberation War ended. Nine or ten months after independence, Quader again went to Dhaka for higher education," said Shushil.
According to the charges framed against the accused, the Jamaat leader "actively took part" in the killing of at least 381 unarmed people in Dhaka's Mirpur and Keraniganj areas in six separate incidents in between March 26 and November 25 in 1971.
At least three prosecution witnesses -- Shafiuddin Mollah, Amir Hossain Mollah and Abdul Majid Palowan -- have testified that they saw Quader Mollah with rifle in his hand directly taking part in the killings of Bangalees.
The three-member tribunal headed by Justice ATM Fazle Kabir with members Justice Obaidul Hassan and Judge M Shahinur Islam recorded Shushil's testimony as well as his cross-examination before adjourning the proceeding until November 26.
After Shushil's testimony, Prosecutor Mohammad Ali completed his cross-examination.
Replying to a question, Shushil said he did not get any paper from the tribunal to give his testimony.
"Son of Quader Mollah brought me to the tribunal [for giving testimony]," added Shushil.
"Local BNP and Jamaat leaders and Quader Mollah's brother Mainuddin compelled you to give the false testimony threatening you with possible change in country's political scenario and enticing you by money," suggested Mohammad Ali.
"It is not true," replied Shushil.
Earlier on May 28, the tribunal framed six charges against Mollah for his alleged involvement in murders and mass killings during the war.
Meanwhile, the defence of war crimes accused Delawar Hossain Sayedee yesterday continued placing argument at the International Crimes Tribunal-1.
The tribunal on October 3, 2011 framed 20 specific charges against the Jamaat leader for allegedly committing genocide and crimes against humanity in 1971.
According to the 18th charge, one Bhagirathi during the Liberation War used to work in a camp of the Pakistan army. One day, after a fight with the freedom fighters, Bhagirathi at the instigation of Sayedee was charged with passing information to the freedom fighters and was killed.
The prosecution listed Bhagirathi's son Ganesh Chandra Saha as their witness but failed to produce him. The defence however brought him at the tribunal as their witness later.
In his argument, defence counsel Mizanul Islam said as Ganesh gave deposition as a defence witness, his statement to the investigation officer which was accepted as evidence under section 19 (2) the of International Crimes [Tribunal] Act, 1973 could not be valid.
He also said according to the prosecution Bhagirathi was dragged out from a military jeep in Pirojpur before she was killed. There should be hundreds of witnesses to the incident. But the prosecution have failed to produce one of them, Mizanul added.
The defence counsel also argued on some discrepancies between Ganesh's statement before the investigation officer and deposition before the tribunal.
Later in the afternoon, the defence produced documents in the war crimes case against Jamaat's former ameer Ghulam Azam.
The defence yesterday exhibited 36 documents out of about 235.
Proceedings of both cases were adjourned until today.

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