Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Quader Molla
- Chief Prosecutor vs. AKM Yusuf
Due to ongoing unrest and blockades, our researcher was unable to be physically present in court this day. Accordingly, our coverage was compiled from direct communication with the Tribunal and the Parties to the proceedings.
Today the ICT received the case record of Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Quader Molla from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, along with the Appellate Division’s full Judgment and Order, dated 17 November 2013, in the appeal against conviction (Criminal Appeal Nos. 24-25 of 2013) from Abdul Quader Molla. In its Judgment, the Supreme Court, which is the highest court of appeal, converted the sentence from imprisonment for life, conferred by ICT-2, to “sentence of death.”
The Tribunal also recorded testimony today from PW-17 in the case against AKM Yusuf.
Judgment of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Following the Judgment and sentencing passed on 5 February 2012 by ICT-2 against Abdul Quader Molla, the State filed Criminal Appeal No. 24 of 2013 seeking enhancement of the sentence from life imprisonment, and appealing against an order of acquittal that had been issued in respect of Charge 4. The Defense filed Criminal Appeal No. 25 of 2013 appealing against conviction of Quader Molla.
The Appellate Division unanimously found in favor of the State’s Appeal, and elected by a 4 to 1 majority to change the sentence from imprisonment for life to death. The Appellate Court further set aside the order of acquittal on Charge 4, instead finding the Accused guilty of the charge, and sentencing him to life imprisonment on that count.
The Appellate Division unanimously dismissed the Defense appeal against conviction on Charge 6, and held by a 4 to 1 majority that the conviction and sentence passed in respect of Charges 1, 2, 3 and 5 should be maintained.
A full copy of the judgment of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court can be accessed here: Abdul Quader Molla-SC Appellate Division Judgment
Warrant of Execution of Passed
Upon receiving the Appellate Division’s full judgment, ICT-2 instructed the Registrar of the Tribunal to immediately issue a Warrant of Execution on the death sentence. It ordered the Registrar to ensure quick transmission of the Warrant of Execution to the prison authority, directing the Registrar to return the warrant to the Tribunal with an endorsement certifying that the sentence has been executed. The Court also ordered that the Judgment and Order of the Appellate Division be transmitted to the Dhaka District Magistrate and the Secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs for information and necessary compliance with the law.
A copy of the “Warrant of Execution”, issued by ICT-2 can be accessed here: Death warrant of Abdul Quader Molla
Switching cases, ICT-2 moved on to recording the examination-in-chief of PW-17 in the case against AKM Yusuf, after the cross-examination of PW-16 was closed because senior defense counsel was absent, once again.Examination-in-chief
The witness stated that Maolana AKM Yusuf was the Chairman of Peace Committee of Khulna District, who later formed the Rajakar forces. He then came to Kachua for a meeting, where he exerted pressure on the Hindu community on grounds that they were damaging Pakistan. He also stated he would be strict with the supporters of Awami League. The Accused then made the Chairmen of local Unions members of Peace Committee. After this took place, they looted the houses of Hindus and pro-Awami League people.
After few days, on 30 Ashwin of Bengali calendar in 1971, the witness went to the marketplace of Bhasha village along with his uncle Anwar Kha. That afternoon, nearly 50 Rajakar members surrounded the place from the west side and searched the people in the area. At one point, the Rajakars captured the uncle of the witness. The witness hid in a nearby sugarcane refinery, where he saw that the Rajakars had captured 22 people, 18 of them were Hindu and two were Muslims. The Rajakars arranged them in a bunch and shot them near Moghia Dhopabari. All but one were killed. The lone survivor was a man known as Shunil, who was shot in the chest and bayonetted. The witness saw the dead body of his uncle lying on the ground.
The witness went on to explain that Maolana (Yusuf) contested in the 1970 MLA election. The witness lamented why Maolana formed the Rajakar forces and killed so many people in his country. He said that a monument still stands at the site of this mass killing with the names of the martyrs engraved on it.
The witness, in reply to defense questioning, said that he does not know whether the sons of his uncle filed any case for the murder of their father.
(Cross-examination to be continued)