Prosecution has only been able to establish his direct involvement in two types of war crimes, and that he was a complicit with regard to the remaining three charges.
Molla, who is widely known as the "butcher of Mirpur" for his wartime brutality, received life imprisonment as the International Crimes Tribunal-2 delivered its second verdict, which apparently fell far short of what people had expected.
The prosecution has failed to substantiate the charges it brought against the infamous war criminal before the three-strong ICT-2 headed by Justice Obaidul Hassan, people observed after the verdict.
Jamaat’s Assistant Secretary General Molla was accused of murder, genocide, conspiracy, arson and plunder in six specific incidents as the trial, which began on May 28, culminated in the sentence on Tuesday.
Killings of Pallab, six others
‘Pallab’, a student of Mirpur Bangla College living in block B at Mirpur-11, was taken to confinement by a group of people opposing the freedom struggle in March of 1971. He had angered them for his effort to organise locals for the Liberation War.
He was taken to Molla, who was also living in Mirpur at that time. With hands tied behind, he was dragged from Mirpur 12 to Shah Ali Majar (a shrine) and then dragged back the same way before being taken to Eidgah ground at Mirpur-12.
There they hanged Pallab from a tree and cut his fingers off. He had to endure the torture for two days before he was shot dead.
His body rotted outside under the open sky for two more days, and finally was dumped beside Kalapani Jheel with bodies of six unidentified people.
According to the verdict, the tribunal found his complicity to the crime, but the prosecution could not prove how Molla had masterminded the killing, thus failing to substantiate his direct involvement in the incident.
Murder of Poet Meherunnesa, mother, brother
In the morning of Mar 27, 1971, a team of Al-Badr members led by Molla stormed into the poet’s Mirpur residence at around 11am. He ordered and witnessed decapitation of Meherunnesa. Her two brothers – Rafiqul Hoque Bablu and Shariful Hoque Tuku – and their mother were killed in the same way.
Meherunnesa’s beheaded body was found hanging from the ceiling fan.
This time the prosecution failed to substantiate the killing, and the tribunal could not establish anything more than his ‘complicity’ to the crime.
Murder of Khandker Abu Taleb
Abu Taleb fled to Arambagh from his Mirpur residence on Mar 26 after the Pakistani military started killing people en masse in the capital in the night. Back home three days later, Taleb found everything in his area burned down to ashes.
He left the place immediately and rushed to Mirpur bus station to go back to Arambagh. But Molla and his associates were at the bus station to catch him. Taleb was taken to the Mirpur pump house known as Jalladkhana at that time. His throat was slit as Molla watched over.
This is the third offence in which Molla stands as a mere complicit.
His complicity to these three offences had him jailed for 15 years each.
Jailed for life
As the call for morning prayer broke the eerie silence in the morning of Apr 24, Pakistani troops came in a helicopter and landed on the western side of Mirpur’s Alokdi village, by the side of river Turag. A team of 50 Al-Badr members assisted by non-Bengali Biharis already surrounded the village at the orders of of Molla.
Indiscriminate fire was opened on people, killing more than 344 Alokdi inhabitants in one of the many 1971 genocides.
In another incident in the evening of Mar 26, 1971, Molla and several other Biharis forced into the residence of Hajrat Ali Laskar in Mirpur. Ali was shot at, his pregnant wife ‘Amina’ and her two daughters aged 7 and 9 years were slaughtered.
Molla’s cohorts killed his two-year-old son by banging the minor against the floor.
As all these happened, Ali’s another daughter hiding under their cot struggled in vain to not shout. She gave in to the horrific incident and let her pain come out loud.
Molla and his associates pulled her out from under the cot. All of them raped her as she fell unconscious.
They took her for dead, but she survived to tell the tale.
Genocides at Khanbari,Ghatarchar
Let alone his direct involvement, even his complicity could not be proved in the killing of over a hundred people at Khanbari and Ghatarchar in Keraniganj.
According to the allegation, as many as 42 people were killed and houses were set afire in the two Keraniganj villages in the morning of Nov 25, 1971. Molla lad the killing and arson.
Born at Amirabad in Faridpur in 1948, Molla joined Islami Chhatra Shangha in 1966 when still a student at Faridpur Rajendrapur College. He had formed one of the auxiliary forces, Al-Badr, to assist Pakistan army in suppressing people fighting for their independence.