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War Crimes 1971

Arguments continue in Mollah's case

The prosecution yesterday continued placing argument in the war crimes case against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah at International Crimes Tribunal-2 for the fourth day.

Mohammad Ali, the conducting prosecutor of the case, placed his argument on the third, fourth and fifth charges citing testimonies of the first, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and tenth prosecution witnesses.

Earlier, the prosecution completed argument on charge number one and two.

The three-member tribunal headed by Justice Obaidul Hassan with members Justice Mozibur Rahman Miah and Judge M Shahinur Islam recorded the argument before adjourning the proceeding until December 26.

As per the third charge, Quader Mollah and his accomplices killed journalist Khondaker Abu Taleb during the Liberation War in 1971.

During his three-hour-and-20-minute argument, the prosecutor said Abu Taleb's son Khondaker Abul Ahsan and Syed Abdul Kaium, fifth and tenth prosecution witnesses, respectively, testified over the charge.

Ahsan said he had heard from one advocate Khalilur Rahamn that Abdul Halim, a non-Bangalee chief accountant of the daily Ittefaq, handed his father over to Mollah at Mirpur. Taleb was stabbed to death at Jalladkhana in Mirpur-10, Ali added.

Ali said Ahsan had testified that he also heard about the incident from their non-Bangalee driver Nizam.

Citing from Kaium's testimony, Ali said the witness testified that he had heard about the killing from his colleague Faruk Ahmed Khan and Nizam.

The tribunal pointed out that Kaium had said he had learned from Nizam that Abdul Halim handed Taleb over to the Biharis. At this stage, Ali argued that Biharis were in the team of Mollah and they shared same ideology.

Amir Hossain Mollah, ninth prosecution witness, testified that Mollah along with 70 to 80 members of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the then student wing of Jamaat, had trained non-Bangalee Biharis to "protect Pakistan" ahead of the Liberation War.

According to the fourth charge, Mollah and his accomplices on November 25, 1971 carried out an attack on the villages of Khanbari and Ghatarchar of Keraniganj and killed hundreds of unarmed people.

Ali said Mozaffar Ahmed Khan, a freedom fighter and first prosecution witness, testified that the incident of killing 57 unarmed villagers of Ghatarchar was orchestrated following a meeting of local Razakars with Mollah in the village.

Mozaffar said he had learned form Abdul Majid about the meeting from which the decision of killing unarmed people was taken and executed on November 25.

Abdul Majid Palowan, seventh prosecution witness, also testified that the Jamaat leader held a meeting at the house of Dr Joynal, local Muslim League leader, at Ghatarchar on the night before the massacre.

When the tribunal asked how Majid learned about the meeting and its decision, Ali said Joynal lived very close to Majid's house.

According to the fifth charge, the Pakistani army and around 50 non-Bangalees led by Quader Mollah attacked unarmed people at Alubdi village of Mirpur and killed at least 344 people on April 24.

Ali added eyewitnesses Shafiuddin Mollah and Amir Hossain Mollah testified in favour of the charge.

Citing from the testimony of Shafiuddin, Ali said Mollah and his accomplices and non-Bangalee Biharis were driving away people towards that spot from the east where the Pakistani army also gathered people at Alubdi.

"After some time, I saw Abdul Quader Mollah talking with Pakistani army officers in Urdu, but I could not hear anything. I also saw they had started shooting at the people after taking them aside. There was a rifle in Quader Mollah's hand and he was shooting too," Ali quoted Shafiuddin as saying.

Terming Shafiuddin an "impartial witness", Ali said he was involved in student politics before the war but left politics later.

Ali raised a question about the age of Shafiuddin's younger brother Altab Uddin Mollah, who has given his testimony as the fifth defence witness in the case.

During his cross-examination Shafiuddin, who was 19 to 20 in 1971, said his immediate younger brother Altab was 12 to 13 years younger, added Ali.

"If Shafiuddin's age was 19 to 20, then what about Altab's age?” questioned Ali.

Ali is set to resume his argument with the testimony of Amir Hossain Mollah on December 26.

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