FFs ‘expected death verdict’ for Molla
Published: 2013-02-05 09:19:55.0 BdST Updated: 2013-02-05 09:19:55.0 BdST
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 War.
“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 crimes charges.
The charges included the ones involving the killing of 344 people at Mirpur’s Alokdi and the murder of poet Meherunnisa.
Quader 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 war.
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 abroad.
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 said.
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.
Sector Commanders’ Forum Vice President KM Shafiullah was also surprised at the verdict.
“But we are happy that ultimately the war criminals are being tried.”
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