Anatomy of verdict against Abdul Quader Mollah
Abdul Qader Mollah is a renowned politician and well known personality who has been involved in numerous social institutes and activities in Bangladesh. He was born 14th August, 1948 in Faridpur. Currently he is the Assistant Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. He was elected as the Vice President of Dhaka Journalists’ Union for two consecutive terms in 1982 and 1983.
On 13th July, 2010 he was arrested from the Supreme Court premise without any charge or warrant against him. He has remained imprisoned until December 2011, for nearly one and half year, without any specific charges against him. In context of the imprisonment without charges, The UN Working Group of Arbitrary Detention and other national and international organizations requested Bangladesh government to release him.
Abdul Qader Mollah was never involved in any sort of crime against humanity during the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971. He stayed in his village during the war and returned to his academic institute Dhaka University in 1972 following the war and restarted his academia staying at Shahidullah Hall as a residential student. Later he completed his Masters from the Institution of Education and Research securing First Class First position.
After the independence of Bangladesh, the erstwhile government enacted the Collaborators Act to try the personnel involved in aiding and abetting the Pakistani forces in committing war crimes. At least 37 thousand native Bangladeshi people were accused under that act. As Abdul Quader Mollah was not involved in any kind of such activities, not a single General Diary (GD) was filed against him. During 1974-75, he was teacher of Udayan School, a prestigious academic institute inside the campus of Dhaka University, adjacent to Jagannath Hall and Salimullah Hall (SM Hall) of the university. During 1977, he was appointed as a Senior Teacher at Bangladesh Rifles Public School and College. If Abdul Quader Mollah was involved in any single crime against humanity or in war crimes, how could he then be allowed to stay in Dhaka University and conduct job at the heart of the campus while all the collaborators and abettors of Pakistani forces were on toe during the turbulent days of 70s?
Only to materialize political vendetta and as per the plan of eliminating political dissidents, the allegations of crimes against humanity are brought against the Jamaat leader. Allegations against Kosai Kader, an accused of war crimes, have been replaced against of Abdul Quader Mollah and the Jamaat leader has been convicted in false, ill- motivated and politically prepared allegations of crimes against humanity in the tribunal set up by a radical secular government in Bangladesh. A synopsis, and detailed later on, of the judgment against Abdul Quader Mollah would bring the light.
The 6 charges and judgment against Abdul Quader Mollah
The first charge brought against Abdul Quader Mollah is killing Pallab, a freedom fighter. Second witness of the Prosecution Shahidul Haque Mama gave statement at the tribunal. In the statement, Shahidul Haque Mama claimed he heard “a group of people seized Pallab from Thataribazar in the capital and brought him to Mirpur. Later Quader Mollah ordered to kill Pallab”. Shahidul Haque Mama was asked from whom he had heard that incident, but he could not reply. His reply was ‘ I have heard it from the stream of people of Mirpur’.
Shahidul Haque Mama, also the prosecution witness of the charge 2 against Abdul Quader Mollah, described the incidents of the charges 1 and 2 in Bangladesh Television (BTV) broadcast documentary ‘Ronangoner Dinguli’ ( Days of the Battlefield). In his description in the government run television, Shahidul Haque Mama didn’t mention name of Abdul Quader Mollah.
Another witness of the prosecution Syed Abdul Qaium said at the tribunal that he has heard that Pallab was killed as Quader Mollah ordered to kill Pallab. But the prosecution witness couldn’t say a single name from whom he has heard that Quader Mollah either ordered to kill Pallab or in charge of commissioning the killing.
Most amazingly, the prosecution witness and only witness of Pallab’s killing; daughter-in-law of Pallab, Shahera gave statement in favor of Quader Mollah. She said the family members have never heard of Quader Mollah in line with Pallab’s killing. However, the investigation officer didn’t take witness of the in-law of Pallab but enlisted name of Abdul Quader Mollah as the accused of killing Pallab.
Ignoring the stark anomalies and lack of evidences, the tribunal ordered Abdul Quader Mollah 15 years imprisonment for ‘complicity’ in commission of Pallab killing.
In this charge, Abdul Quader Mollah is accused of killing poet Meherunnesa. Prosecution witness- 2 Shahidul Haque Mama, Prosecution witness- 4 Poet Kazi Rozi, and prosecution witness -10 Syed Abdul Qaium have also gave statement against Abdul Quader Mollah in the second charge. None of the witnesses had seen the incident and no witness couldn’t tell name of a person from whom they have heard the incident of killing of Poet Meherunnesa.
Second witness of the prosecution Shahidul Haque Mama has heard that poet Meherunnesa had been killed upon the order of Abdul Quader Mollah. But he couldn’t tell the tribunal from whom he has heard the incident. Poet Kazi Rozi has told the Tribunal that Poet Meherunnesa was killed by a group Biharis (Urdu speaking people staying in the erstwhile East Pakistan following 1947) upon the order of Quader Mollah. However, she didn’t hear whether Quader Mollah had killed poet Meherunnesa. During June of 2011, poet Kazi Rozi published a book titled Shahid Kabi Meherunnesa. She has written in detail description of killing of poet Meherunnesa. But name of Abdul Quader Molla is found nowhere in her book let alone as killer of poet Meherunnesa.
Prosecution witness Syed Abdul Qaium told the tribunal that Biharis had killed poet Meherunnesa. The prosecution witness also didn’t put name of Quader Mollah in connection to the killing of poet Meherunnesa. The prosecution totally failed to prove the charges against Abdul Quader Mollah, but the tribunal ordered 15 years of imprisonment for this charge.
In the charge three, Abdul Quader Mollah has been accused of killing intellectual and journalist Khandakar Abu Taleb. Prosecution witness- 5 Khandakar Abul Ahsan and Prosecution witness-10 Syed Abdul Qaium have given statement against Abdul Quader Mollah. Like of the first two charges, both of these two witnesses have told the tribunal that they had heard of the incident. Any of them couldn’t specifically tell about involvement of Quader Mollah in that killing. Collecting from the memorial in Mirpur, the defense counsel submitted the biographies and recorded interviews of the family members and other documents of the martyrs. In the recorded evidences it is found that poet Kazi Rozi has mentioned Bihari Halim as the killer of Khandakar Abu Taleb. In the Tribunal Poet Kazi Rozi was asked why she didn’t mention name of Abdul Quader Mollah as the killer of Khandakar Abu Taleb. Poet Kazi Rozi replied that she didn’t mention the name in fear. Abdul Quader Mollah was arrested in July 2010 and Kazi Rozi has published her book in 2011. The defense asked poet Kazi Rozi how could a person staying inside jail may threaten her while the trial of crimes against humanity was going. The defense also asked about the rationality of threatening a witness by an accused of committing crimes against humanity. But poet Kazi Rozi could not put any words to that question. However, on the basis of the witnesses who have heard the incident, the Tribunal handed down 15 years imprisonment to Abdul Quader Mollah.
In this charge, Abdul Quader Mollah is accused of carrying mass killing at Alobdi village. Prosecution witness -6 Shafiuddin Mollah and Prosecution witness-9 Ameer Hossen Mollah have given statement against Abdul Quader Mollah. Prosecution witness Shafiuddin Mollah claimed their whole family left for Sarulia village of Savar in fear of life. Instead of going with the family members, he stayed behind a bush and watched Abdul Quader Mollah firing on the people. But his younger brother Altaf Hossen Mollah confirmed the Tribunal that all members of their family went to Sarulia village so as his elder brother Sahfiuddin Mollah was with them. So there was no chance of watching the scene staying beside bushes and his statement was totally false.
Another prosecution witness Ameer Hossen Mollah is a notorious terrorist of Mirpur area. Locally he is known as ‘Laat Bhai’ (gang leader). On 13th December of 2001, law enforcers arrested him with illegal arms. Recently, 15/05/102; he has been freed from jail being convicted of occupying land of a sitting judge of the High Court. This person filed a case at Pallabi police station on 25/01/2008 alleging that he watched Nizami, Mujahid and Quader Mollah attacking Alobdi village. He claimed in the case that he took shelter in a pond at Duaripara, at least four miles away from Alobdi village, and watched the accused leading the attack. However, on 26/08/2012 he told the Tribunal that he was at Alobdi village during the time of ‘attack’ and he watched Quader Mollah firing on the people.
These witness statements proves how anomalous the statements are so as these points prove the ill-motivation of the filed charges. But the Tribunal has ordered life time imprisonment of Abdul Quader Mollah accepting these statements.
Abdul Quader Mollah is accused of killing Hazrat Ali Laskar and his family members in this charge. The only witness of the charge is Momena Begum, prosecution witness- 3. She told the tribunal that she heard from some Kamal and Akkas Mollah that Abdul Quader Mollah had killed her father. This witness gave statement about the killing of her father and rape of the family members to the Liberation War Museum during 2007. In her description to the Liberation War Museum, she told that she had left for her in-law house before two days of the day of killing. As she was in her in-laws house, she remained alive. However, in the tribunal, Momena Begum told she was present at the scene.
Acknowledging the only statement, the Tribunal handed down life time imprisonment to Abdul Quader Mollah.
Where was Abdul Quader Mollah during the war?
The witnessed of Abdul Quader Mollah confirmed the Tribunal that during the war, Quader Mollah stayed at Sadarpur village of Faridpur. Defense witness-2, Shushil Chandra Mondal told the Tribunal that since the war of liberation to till November of 1972, Abdul Quader Mollah stayed at the house of Dhola Mia Peer Saheb (an elderly respected religious person). Shushil Chandra also confirmed that Abdul Quader Mollah used teach children of the Dhola Mia. Defense witness-3 Moslem Uddin Ahmed, who as a headmaster of a school in Faridpur, told the Tribunal that Abdul Quader Mollah stayed at the house of Dhola Mia Peer Saheb at Sadarpur of Faridpur and used to teach the children of the family. Defense witness-6 Hafez ( who have memorized the entire Quran) A I M Lokman, who was the Imam ( head of the Islamic Prayer in a Mosque) of Shahidull Hall Mosque of Dhaka University; told the Tribunal that he saw Abdul Quader Mollah leaving the Hall following 7th of March of 1971. He also informed the Tribunal that Abdul Quader Mollah returned to Hall during the late of 1972.
The Daily Amaar Desh of 9,10 and 12 December of 2012 published the Skype scandal of the resigned Chairman of the International Crimes Tribunal Justice Nizamul Haque Nasim. In the Skype conversation, it was revealed that they fixed even the timeline of handing down the verdict against Abdul Quader Mollah. From the Skype conversation of Nizamul Haque Nasim and Ahmad Ziauddin of 14th October, we found the conversation-
“Let the verdict of Quader Mollah be a bit slow. Let the other cases be advanced in the meantime. That one who is absent…I guess what is his name…Oh! Bacchu (Abul Kalam Azad), start the case of Bacchu Razakar. Start giving verdicts with Bacchu. Later you can declare other three or four in a row. Then there would be no problem”.
Verdict has been declared in line with the government’s direction
These entire proceedings show that the verdict against Abdul Quader Mollah was preplanned and well sketched. Following the Skype conversation, the Tribunal started the case against Bacchu Razakar (Abul Kalam Azad) from 25th of November of 2012. Later on 21st January 2013, verdict was declared against Abul Kalam Azad.
In the same planned flow, verdict was declared against Abdul Quader Mollah on 5th February. Not only the context, Home Minister of the incumbent radical secular Awami League government Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir confirmed the verdict date against Abdul Quader Mollah at a program while visiting Egypt.
This regular flow chart shows that the verdict has been declared in line with the government’s direction. It is now clearly revealed that the Tribunal has declared the verdict accepting the ill-sketched statements of the prosecution witnesses and rejecting the statements of defense witnesses to materialize the government’s planned verdict. The people now find the verdict as perverse, false, controversial and debated. They believe the verdict must be cancelled and Abdul Quader Mollah should be freed from prison.
Last few Questions to the Conscience
If Abdul Quader Mollah was truly involved in the alleged crimes then how could he
- Had stayed at Shahidullah Hall of Dhaka University as a residential student after returning from Faridpur at late 1972?
- Had worked as Teacher of Udayan School, prestigious institution adjacent to Jagannath Hall and Salimullah Hall inside Dhaka University during the days of 1974 and 1975?
- Had been appointed as Senior Teacher and Principal (acting) of Bangladesh Rifles School and College during 1977?
- Had been elected as the Vice President of Dhaka Journalists’ Union for two consecutive times in 1982 and 1983?