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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

[mukto-mona] Fw: 'Quader Molla guarded torture cell in 1971' ..

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Subject: 'Quader Molla guarded torture cell in 1971' ..

'Quader Molla guarded torture cell in 1971'
Tue, Jul 3rd, 2012 3:12 pm BdST


Mozaffar Ahmed Khan, an SSC candidate in 1971, also put the Jamaat Assistant Secretary General at the gate of Mohammadpur's infamous physical training centre, which was an office of vigilante militia groups like the Razakar and Al Badr and doubled as their torture cell during the Liberation War in 1971. 

The first prosecution witness said in his deposition at the second war crimes tribunal of Bangladesh on Tuesday that he had seen Molla standing at the gate with a weapon along with his associates when he visited a maternal uncle in disguise. 

The International Crimes Tribunal – 2, was set up on Mar 23, 2012 to expedite the trials of crimes against humanity during the War of Independence, indicted Molla for six charges on May 28. 

The first war crimes tribunal saw resumption of Moontassir Mamun's cross-examination as the first prosecution witness against Jamaat guru and former chief of the party Ghulam Azam, indicted on five charges including incitement, planning and conspiracy. 

The young freedom fighter had set off for India in May 1971 and received arms training in Assam's Lailapur Cantonment after which he returned to his native Keraniganj and set up camp at Kalatia. 

Mozaffar Ahmed said he began to mobilise his troops on Nov 25 hearing gunshots through the morning. 

On his way he had met with his father who told him not to open fire with his weapons suggesting that the attackers had superior firepower. 

"My father also said that our house had been attacked and set on fire." 

Khan's father had told him that two of his fellow freedom fighters Osman Gani and Golam Mostafa, who had left the camp on a day's leave, had also been killed. Gani was Khan's nephew and was staying at his house, the witness explained to the court during his deposition. 

Mozaffar Ahmed went to his house and found it burning with both the freedom fighters lying dead. "There were dead bodies all over the place. It was all bloody." 

The locals told him that there had been a meeting with local Muslim League leaders around Nov 23 or Nov 24. "The meeting decided on the massacre of unarmed civilians. And that decision was carried out on Nov 25." 

He said Abdul Quader Molla was actually behind the attack of Nov 25 where he saw dozens of bodies lying around the place of occurrence in Keraniganj. 

Defence counsel Mohammad Ekramul Huq began his cross-examination and asked two questions before he prayed for an adjournment. The court granted the prayer and scheduled the cross-examination for Sunday. The defence has been directed to submit the list of witnesses and documents it wishes to rely upon by July 12. 

Cross-examination of Moontassir Mamun, the first prosecution witness against Ghulam Azam, will resume Wednesday. 

Witness agitated 

The first day of witness deposition against Abdul Quader Molla saw the witness become agitated and at one point even declined to continue his testimony. 

The deposition was proceeding slowly with the stenographer having a hard time keeping up with the Mozaffar Ahmed's speed. 

Prosecutor Mohammad Ali did not help matters either as he kept probing the witness even as the last question was being typed. Judge Shahinur Islam at one point told the prosecutor early during the deposition, "Please wait while its being typed up and then we will tell you to go on." 

The witness also had to be told a few times to speak in short sentences without digressing. It was when the witness describing the events of Nov 25, when attacks began around dawn and continued till around 11am, that the witness became visibly irked with tribunal member Judge Shahinur Islam. 

The witness had begun with the sound of gunshots from early morning. He then said that Osman Gani and Golam Mostafa, his associates had gone on a day's leave. And then he said that on Nov 25 when his troops were moving toward the direction of gunfire he met his father. 

The tribunal member told the witness that he needed to be coherent and speak slowly. Shahinur Islam, former registrar of the tribunal, indicated that the statement had to flow naturally indicating the obvious stumble. 

"But you have to let me speak!" said the witness. The prosecutors said that the judge was only trying to help and that he should go on. "No! He is charging me! He is not letting me speak," replied the witness. 

Mozaffar Ahmed Khan had lost his temper by then. "If the court charges me like that, I won't testify!" 

The prosecutors tried to calm him saying that no one was charging him. "Yes. Mr Shahinur is charging me," said the witness indicating the tribunal member. 

Chief prosecutor Ghulam Arieff Tipoo then raised his voice too, and said, "Don't name any names like that!" 

But the witness hardly calmed down. "I won't testify. Run your tribunal if you can," said the witness looking at the general direction of the bench. 

The stout man continued, "I am a genuine freedom fighter, I am no hybrid freedom fighter. I won't speak like this." 

"After all what can the court do? Hang me? They can hang me if they like for going to the war." 

By this time, the conducting prosecutor, Mohammad Ali, the chief prosecutor and a couple of investigation agency officials had reached over to the witness stand to calm the witness. 

The witness kept replying to them loudly and the small courtroom, seating hardly 30 people altogether, reverberated with his protests. 

"Let them hold me in contempt, what do I care?" he was heard saying which was soon followed by, "Sentimental! If I were not sentimental, I would not go to the war in the first place!" 

However, the witness sat down for a few minutes and after a drink of water resumed his deposition reluctantly. 

At the close of the day's proceedings, Judge Shahinur Islam called the cheif prosecutor and said, "It will be up to you to consider whether whatever happened today was justified." 

Molla at ICT 

Indictment hearing of the Jamaat leader began on Mar 7 at ICT-1 with the prosecution presenting seven charges against him. It was later shifted to ICT-2 on Apr 16 following a prosecution petition. 

A case was filed with Keraniganj police on Dec 17, 2007 against a number of Jamaat leaders including Molla for killing a person named 'Mostofa' during the Liberation War. Another case was filed against him with Pallabi police in 2008. He was arrested on July 13, 2010 for the second case. 

The prosecution brought crimes against humanity charges including murder, rape and arson in its probe report placed at the tribunal on Nov 1 last year. The court took it into cognisance on Dec 28 the same year. 

The prosecution report said the Jamaat leader operated in Mirpur and Mohammadpur areas of Dhaka during the war and started killing Bengalis from March 25 midnight of 1971. 

Local Biharis assisted him in his killing and he also took part in genocide at Mirpur's Alokdi village and was called the 'Butcher of Bengalis' for his atrocities.