Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mollah Verdict

SC hears govt appeal for 2nd day

Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah was passively involved in the killing of Pallab, a student of Mirpur Bangla College, during the Liberation War in 1971, Additional Attorney General MK Rahman told the Supreme Court yesterday.
Quoting from a war crimes trial verdict, he said some notorious people including Akter Gunda, Hakka Gunda, Hasib Hasmi and Abbas Chairman dragged Pallab from Nawabpur to Mirpur Shah Ali Mazar on April 5, 1971 on Quader Mollah’s orders.
The gang took Pallab to an eidgah ground and hanged him in a tree and killed him as per Mollah’s instructions, added MK Rahman.
The additional attorney general was placing arguments before the apex court on the second day of the hearing on the government’s appeal filed on March 3. The appeal was filed seeking death penalty for Mollah for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.
The International Crime Tribunal-2 on February 5 handed down lifetime imprisonment to Mollah for his wartime offences.
After concluding yesterday’s proceedings, the Appellate Division fixed today for further hearing on the appeal.
At one stage of the proceedings, Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain asked the state counsels to speed up the hearing as there is time limit for the court to dispose of the appeal within 60 days from the date of its filing.
On March 4, Mollah filed the appeal with the SC seeking acquittal on the charges of the case.
The convicted Jamaat leader yesterday filed two separate petitions with the Supreme Court, urging that its two judges abstain voluntarily from the proceedings for separate reasons.
The judges are Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha and Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury.
He said Justice Sinha had indirectly interfered in a tribunal by reportedly assuring its former head Justice Md Nizamul Huq of elevating him to the Appellate Division.
Mollah added Nizamul Huq reportedly told Ahmed Ziauddin, an expatriate Bangladeshi legal expert, during “Skype conversations” that Justice Sinha assured him [Nizamul] of elevation after delivery of his verdicts against three war crimes accused.
“This amounts to an unlawful interference in the proceedings pending before the tribunal. In doing so, he has disqualified himself from sitting as a judge in any appeal from any judgment of the tribunal,” Mollah said in the petition.
The Jamaat leader in another petition said Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury had attended some meetings in London in 2010 and 2011 to support his (Mollah’s) trial as a war criminal, and therefore, the judge might be biased in dealing with the case.
The Appellate Division bench of six judges including Justice Sinha and Justice Shamsuddin is now dealing with the appeals in the war crimes case against Mollah.