Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Life term for Jamaat leader over 1971 crimes

DHAKA, February 6, 2013

Life term for Jamaat leader over 1971 crimes

A war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh on Tuesday sentenced senior Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity during the nation's Liberation War in 1971.

He was indicted on May 28, 2012 on six charges for his alleged involvement in murders, mass killings, rapes, and torture as a leading cohort of the Pakistan Army.

The verdict of International Crimes Tribunal-2 said five out of six charges against Mollah had been proved beyond doubt.

Tribunal Chairman Justice Obaidul Hassan delivered the judgement after the summary of the 132-page verdict was read out at the courtroom amid tight security.

On January 21, the tribunal made history by sentencing former Jamaat member Abul Kalam Azad, alias 'Bachchu Razakar', to death for genocide and crimes against humanity during the war in its first verdict.

Alubdi massacre

Mollah, the then president of a Dhaka University residential hall unit of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, organised al-Badr, a notorious gang that sought to suppress the pro-independence sentiment.

According to the charges, Mollah murdered many students in Dhaka. His victims included leading Bengali poet Meherun Nesa, her mother and two brothers; and leading journalist Khondoker Abu Taleb. He also led the Alubdi massacre, in which 344 people in Alubdi village in Mirpur, near Dhaka, were brutally killed.Jamaat has violently opposed the verdict, enforcing a nationwide general strike on Tuesday, to be continued on Wednesday.

The ruling Awami League, secular parties, freedom fighters and pro-liberation organisations expressed "acute disappointment" at the "butcher of Mirpur" not being handed down a death sentence.

Law Minister Shafique Ahmed and Attorney-General Mahbub e Alam said they may consider appealing against the verdict at the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, Jamaat, which began a violent campaign in November against the trial, torched scores of vehicles and blasted Molotov cocktails injuring many policemen. The Islamist party has also threatened a "civil war" unless government stops the trial. In Chittagong, a man was killed in gunfight between police and pro-strike activists. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has repeatedly said her government would not backtrack on the trial process.
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