The freedom fighters have expressed resentment at the second war crimes tribunal’s verdict sentencing Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Molla to life in prison for his role during the nation’s War of Independence in 1971.
They staged a demonstration on the High Court
premises protesting the tribunal’s second verdict.
The three-judge ICT–2,
set up to expedite trial of crimes against humanity during the Liberation War,
sentenced the Jamaat leader to life imprisonment for murder and rape. He was
acquitted of one charge.
The court also sentenced Molla to 15 years in
prison for complicity in three instances of murder.
“It (the verdict) is
a misfortune for the nation. I am shocked,” an apparently upset Shyamoli Nasrin
Chowdhury, a 1971 widow, said.
She said she was surprised at Molla’s
sentence, who was known as the ‘Butcher of Bengalis’ during the Liberation
“The ‘Butcher’ will get division in jail and comfortably stay there.
He will come out if the government changes. It is really a bad luck for the
nation,” she said.
Molla was indicted on May 28 last year for six war
The charges included the ones involving the killing of
344 people at Mirpur’s Alokdi and the murder of poet Meherunnisa.
Molla, assisted by local Biharis of Mirpur, allegedly unleashed a reign of
terror during the War of Independence.
Allegations have it that he began
killing Bengalis even before the Pakistani occupation forces cracked down on the
people of then East Pakistan through the infamous Operation Searchlight on the
night of Mar 25 that marked the beginning of the bloody nine-month
Freedom Fighters’ Command Council chief JR Helal Morshed was also of
the same view. “Molla should have been hanged.”
He asked why the Jamaat
leader was spared when a former Jamaat leader Abul Kalam Azad, popularly known
as Bachchu Razakar was hanged on similar charges.
“The prosecution should
appeal against this verdict,” Morshed said.
Barisal unit chief of the
Freedom Fighters’ Council Mohammad Kutubuddin told bdnews24.com the life
sentence proved the Jamaat had appointed lobbyists in the country and
Jahangirnagar University’s Vice Chancellor Prof Anowar Hossain
was also dissatisfied at the verdict. He also said the prosecution should appeal
against the sentence.
“There was enough evidence to hang Quader Molla. We
hoped he would be sentenced to death,” he added.
MA Hasan, Convenor of
War Crimes Fact Finding Committee, said a life sentence for the ‘Butcher’ was
not acceptable as his Mirpur atrocities had been proved. “The verdict did not
meet the expectation of those killed in Mirpur during the War by Molla,” he
Hasan, also a researcher, said they have observed the verdict and
wanted to know the government’s stance regarding those opposing the tribunals.
“We are waiting for the future verdicts,” he said.
Forum Vice President KM Shafiullah was also surprised at the
“But we are happy that ultimately the war criminals are being