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Thursday, February 7, 2013
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Quader Mollah's Conviction

Verdict surprises some top jurists

Some eminent jurists have expressed surprise at the recent verdict against Jamaat-e Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah in the crimes against humanity case.

The International Crimes Tribunal-2 on Tuesday awarded Mollah life in prison in the case filed for the crimes against humanity he had committed during the Liberation War in 1971.

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, a number of jurists said the judges of the ICT-2 could have given capital punishment in this case, as five charges out of six brought against the convict were proved.

The legal experts, however, were divided over an appeal by the government against this verdict.

Advocate Shahdeen Malik said the International Crimes Tribunal-2 gave life term imprisonment to Mollah based on its best consideration, although the people had expected a death sentence.

A judgement is delivered on the basis of law, evidence and fact but can never be a competitor for popularity such as songs or films and cannot be supposed to reflect public expectations, he observed.

Malik also said awarding a sentence to any accused depends on the discretion of the judges, as there are no specific rules in the country's judicial system to this effect.

Criminal law expert Anisul Huq said it should be examined whether the prosecution had any fault in placing the charges against the convict before the tribunal.

The judges of the tribunal possibly gave life term instead of capital punishment because the charges brought against Mollah were not proved beyond doubt, he observed.

He said the government could move an appeal before the Supreme Court against the portion of the verdict that acquitted the Jamaat leader of the charge of murders in Keraniganj.

The counsel added the government could not pray to the apex court to enhance the conviction to death penalty in other charges of the case.

Expressing surprise, Dr M Zahir said he was disappointed and dissatisfied with the verdict against Mollah like others in the country.

Asked whether the judges of the ICT-2 could have awarded Mollah death penalty on the charges which were proved, the eminent jurist said there is nothing to do now in this regard.

Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan said the tribunal could have awarded capital punishment as five serious charges brought against the convict were proved.

He opined that the government could file an application with the Supreme Court seeking permission to file an appeal challenging the portion of the verdict that acquitted Mollah of a murder charge.

If the Appellate Division permits the government to move an appeal challenging the verdict, the government can do it, he said.

He also said the government has to mention in the application whether it would pray to the apex court to enhance the punishment from life term imprisonment to death penalty.

Speaking anonymously, a top constitution expert said the ICT-2 judges, beyond any doubt, could have awarded death penalty to Mollah, as five charges out of six were proved.

Some eyewitnesses had given statement before the tribunal against Mollah about his serious offences like murder, but the court has awarded him life term imprisonment.

He said the same tribunal had earlier given death penalty to another accused Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu Razakar for committing similar crimes against humanity.

The senior counsel added the government might have made an underhand settlement with Jamaat for giving less punishment to Mollah through the ICT-2 for any political purpose.

The charge, of which the tribunal acquitted Mollah, was that he along with his 60 to 70 accomplices on November 25, 1971 went to the village of Khanbari and Ghatar Char, now Shaheed Nagar of Keraniganj, and caught two unarmed freedom fighters from the house of Mozaffar Ahmed Khan.

Freedom fighters Osman Gani and Golam Mostafa were brutally murdered by charging bayonet in broad daylight.

A systematic attack and indiscriminate shooting by Mollah and his gang killed hundreds of unarmed people of the two villages that day. Among them, 24 people were named in the charge.

The prosecution have failed to prove this charge against Mollah before the tribunal.

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The verdict has political dimensions and is expected to create some much needed mileage. But it may backfire.

This could be the LONG awaited Bangla Spring, and the harbinger of clear, transparent and corruption free, democratic society, run by sincere patriots.

: S Ali

I could not , can not and will not accept it . How can it possible . He is a criminal and it is proved . Because our govt. ( total failure ) gave him 18 year prison . But his smile and the sign of winning in the headline of prothom alo focus at the total insult to Bangladesh and to the supreme sacrifice of the freedom fighters.

: analogym


  • maruf
    Thursday, February 7, 2013 01:55 AM GMT+06:00 (157 weeks ago)

    In my opinion it is not up to humans to kill another human. Also not after a court verdict. Capital punishment is frankly not human. It should be abandoned voluntarily and completely. Allhamdullilah.

  • a garment worker
    Thursday, February 7, 2013 07:59 AM GMT+06:00 (157 weeks ago)

    So, what this anonymous eminent jurist says is government can very well be capable to change the verdict if it pleases . now one may raise doubt about the freedom of ICT judges in delivering justice. if this is the case , what is the point then of making all this noise about fair trial! how can be the trial fair if secret arrangement between government and jamat affects verdict? is not it then a farce of a trial?

  • Nazrul M Islam
    Thursday, February 7, 2013 08:43 AM GMT+06:00 (157 weeks ago)

    The verdict is a disappointment for every Bangladeshi when such heinous crime committed by Quader Mollah. The verdict depends on one charge that was not proven by the prosecution team. Unless the transcripts of verdicts are known, it is difficult to assess the quality of judgement. To show respect for the rule of law, it is imperative on us to avoid speculation. But it is clear that the prosecution lawyers were not diligent enough to gather evidences and possibly unable to argue properly for this case. There shows the government's decision making process to appoint legal team not on merits but for political considerations.

  • S K
    Thursday, February 7, 2013 12:53 PM GMT+06:00 (157 weeks ago)

    This verdict results in failure of the present Govt alongside failure in power sector, essentials prices, corruptions and the Padma bridge construction.

  • Hafeejul Alam
    Thursday, February 7, 2013 02:22 PM GMT+06:00 (157 weeks ago)

    It's surprising indeed !

  • Rashid Ahmed
    Thursday, February 7, 2013 06:41 PM GMT+06:00 (157 weeks ago)

    Awami League does not want to finish this chapter of war criminals. 'War criminals' are magic words for Awami League's political victory. If these war criminals are executed, then the matter is finished and then Awami league will have to find a new issue to pin down political opponents.

    Like, Awamil League effectively used the trial of Bangobandhu as a political tool for quite a long time. That chapter is over now as murderers are convicted and executed. The nation will not cry any more with what is over, so Awami League's new tool is war criminals. Awami League will try to keep it alive as long as possible, at least until next general election.





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