12:00 AM, December 28, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 28, 2012

Closing Arguments in Mollah's War Crimes Case

Plea for death penalty

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Staff Correspondent

The prosecution yesterday sought capital punishment for Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah while completing its closing arguments in the crimes against humanity case at the International Crimes Tribunal-2.
“It is our opinion and assessment that the prosecution has successfully been able to prove the charges [against Mollah] beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt and we plea for capital punishment under section 20 of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973,” said Mohammad Ali, conducting prosecutor of the case against Mollah.
Section 20 (2) of the act says, “Upon conviction of an accused person, the tribunal shall award sentence of death or such other punishment proportionate to the gravity of the crimes as appears to the tribunal to be just and proper.”
The three-member Tribunal-2, led by Justice Obaidul Hassan with members Justice Mozibur Rahman Miah and Judge M Shahinur Islam, fixed January 7 for recording the defence's closing arguments.
Prosecution may reply to the defence's arguments if they feel the need.
The tribunal would deliver its verdict after summation of arguments of the prosecution and the defence.
On May 28, the tribunal indicted the Jamaat assistant secretary general with six specific charges of crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War.
Twelve prosecution witnesses, including two investigations officers, testified supporting the charges while six defence witnesses testified for Mollah.
Yesterday, Mohammad Ali spoke about contradictions between defence witnesses and Mollah's alibi.
As per the plea of alibi, Mollah was not in Dhaka, rather at his village home in Faridpur during the entire Liberation War. But Mollah, as the first defence witness, had testified that he came to Dhaka in the last part of July, 1971, to sit for an examination, said Mohammad Ali.
In his testimony, Mollah said he had left Dhaka for his village on March 11 or 12 and during his stay at the village, he used to go to the house of Moulavi Mohammad Ishak alias Dhala Mia Pir as he was a tutor to his two daughters.
“The rest of 1971 and almost the entire 1972, I used to go to the market on Saturdays and Tuesdays and sit at Pir Saheb's shop and run the business," Ali quoted Mollah as saying.
Shushil Chandra Mondal, a resident of Quader Mollah's village and the second defence witness in the case, said, "He [Mollah] seldom came to the village and used to live at the house of Pir Shaheb.”
Ali said the testimony of Mollah and Shushil “contradicted” as Mollah claimed that he used to live in his village while Shushil claimed that Mollah used to live in Dhala Mia's home.
Ali said Mollah admitted that he was involved in Islami Chhatra Sangha, the then student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, when he was a student of Faridpur Rajendra College. He was elected president of Shahidullah Hall Chhatra Sangha unit of Dhaka University in 1970.
According to the charge-framing order, Mollah, as the president Shahidullah Hall unit of Chhatra Sangha, organised the formation of Al-Badr, an anti-liberation force, with members of the student body in 1971.
Mentioning some other contradictions in the testimonies of four defence witnesses, Ali claimed that they were not “believable” and that the alibi did not stand.
Ali urged the tribunal to add the charge of genocide with charge-4 and -5.
According to charge-4, a systematic attack and indiscriminate shooting by Quader Mollah and his cohorts killed hundreds of unarmed people in two villages, Khanbari and Ghatar Char, of Keraniganj on November 25, 1971.
As per charge-5, the Pakistani army and around 50 non-Bangalees led by Quader Mollah raided Alubdi village of Mirpur and launched an attack on unarmed villagers, killing 344 people on April 24, 1971.
During charge framing, the tribunal had recorded the two charges as “murder as crimes against humanity”.
Earlier, Ali placed his arguments on six charges against Mollah citing testimonies of the 12 prosecution witnesses.
Meanwhile, the tribunal allowed two defence lawyers of Mollah to meet him in jail on December 31 for the preparation of the case.
The tribunal yesterday also recorded the cross-examination of Beauty Khanam, the eighth prosecution witness in the case against Abdul Alim, former minister of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman's cabinet, before adjourning the case proceedings until January 2.
It also recorded the cross-examination of Faijuddin Ahmed, the 11th prosecution witnesses against Jamaat leader Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, before adjourning that case's proceedings until January 3.
Meanwhile, at Tribunal-1, Mizanul Islam, defence counsel for war crimes accused Delawar Hossain Sayedee yesterday placed his argument on the petition for retrial of the case.
Sayedee is waiting for the verdict of his case. He is facing 20 charges of crimes against humanity.
Mizanul yesterday claimed that his client was prejudiced by the former chairman of Tribunal-1 Justice Md Nizamul Huq.
The proceeding of the case was adjourned until December 30. Mizanul would continue placing arguments on that day.
In the morning, chief defence counsel Abdur Razzaq completed placing his arguments on the retrial petition of war crimes accused Ghulam Azam.
Ghulam Azam is facing five charges for crimes against humanity, genocide and other grievous crimes committed during the Liberation War.

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