The Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Quader Molla – Defense closing arguments (Accused Present)
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim– Examination of Prosecution Witness (Accused Present)
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid – Examination of Prosecution Witness (Accused Present)
In the case of Qader Molla the Defense continued its closing arguments, attacking the prosecution’s evidence in support of charges 5 and 6. In particular they attacked the credibility of witnesses who had testified in support of the charges. The Tribunal urged them to complete their arguments and stated that they would only have one hour during tomorrow’s session to do so.
In the case against Mujahid, the Prosecution conducted its examination-in-chief of their 12th witness, who provided testimony in support of Charge 7, pertaining to the killing of the witness’ brothe,r Biren Shaha, along with 8 to 9 others from the Hindu community on 13 May 1971.
Finally, in the case against A.M.Alim, the Prosecution conducted its examination-in-chief of their 9th witness, Jahidul Islam, who testified in support of Charge 6, pertaining to the killing of Abdus Salam and nine others in early May 1971, as the victims were fleeing the conflict on their way to India.
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Chief Prosecutor vs. Qader Molla
Mr Abdus Sobhan Tarafdar, counsel for the accused, continued the Defense’s closing arguments by addressing the evidential support for charges 5 through .
Regarding Charge 5 the Defense noted that prosecution witness 6, Shafiuddin Molla, and prosecution witness 9, Amir Hossen Molla, testified as eye witnesses to the incident of raiding the village Alubdi (Pollobi, Mirpur) and killing 344 civilians on 24 April 1971. Prosecution witness 6 had testified that upon hearing about the raid, he went to the location of the incident and hid. While hiding in a small trench-like hole he watched the incident and claimed to have seen Quader Molla shooting with a rifle.
Counsel for the accused challenged the credibility of the witnesses by referring to inconsistencies in their witnesses’ statements . The Defense argued that it is improbable that a person would rush towards the place of a raid when it was happening. The Counsel also questioned whether it would have been possible to see and identify a particular person while hiding inside a trench.
Additionally, the Defense pointed out other inconsistencies in the witness’s statement, noting that he previously told the Investigation Officer that he was hiding inside a pile of paddy rice, contrary to his testimony before the court. The Defense noted that while the Prosecution claimed that he is a non-partisan witness, he was a supporter of Awami League, and therefore more likely to be biased against the accused.
The Defense also attacked the credibility of Amir Hossen Molla, prosecution witness 9, for giving self-contradictory statements as to his whereabouts during the liberation war. During his examination, he stated that he went to Savar near Dhaka with his father and mother and did not come back until 23rd April 1971, whereas in his complaint petition in C.R. Case No. 10/2008, pertaining to the same matter, he stated that he was staying in his house in village Doaripara. The Defense claimed that if a witness gave such contradictory statements his evidence cannot be relied upon.
Further, the Defense argued that Amir Hossen Molla is not a man of good character by reason of his history of engaging in disputes with others, including an Honorable Judge of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. They asserted that a problematic character like him cannot and should not be trusted.
Regarding Charge 6, for the alleged killing of Hajrat Ali, Amina, their minor daughters Khatija & Tahmina and infant Babu, and the alleged gang rape of a minor Amela on 26 March 1971, the Defense attacked the evidence presented by the prosecution in support of the charge. The prosecution’s 3rd witness, Momena Begum, provided the primary evidence for the charge. The Defense noted that she was was only 12 or 13 years old during the liberation period. She testified that she saw the killing of her family members while she was hiding under the bed of their room. She stated that after killing her other family members, Qader Molla dragged her father out of the room.
Defense counsel countered that Momena Begum could not have seen who the culprits were from under the bed, as the visual alignment would not allow direct sight. Additionally they pointed out that there were inconsistencies between the statements she made before the court and in an interview she previously gave to the Muktijuddho Museum. During that interview, she said that she was in her father-in-law’s house during the killing. The Defense claimed that she therefore could not have been an eye witness. Additionally, the Defense questioned the reliability of her testimony given the elapse of time and her own statements regarding the impact of the pyschological trauma of the events. They questioned whether she could accurately remember the events and whether she was truly certain of including Qader Molla’s involvement.
At the end of the morning session the court said that it would not allow a minute more than one hour on the following day for the counsel to finish his argument on the evidential aspects of Quader Mollah’s case. The Defense was unhappy with this decision but the court stated that it was providing additional time so the accused would not be prejudiced.
A hartal has been called for tomorrow, 16 January 2013, but the court will convene briefly at 12pm, despite the strike.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Muhamman Mujahid – Prosecution Examination of Prosecution Witness 12
The Prosecution conducted its examination-in-chief of Chittraranjan Shaha, prosecution witness 12. Chittraranjan Shaha of Bakchar, Faridpur. The 80 year-old witness testified in support of Charge 7, pertaining to the killing of his brother Biren Shaha along with 8 to 9 others from the Hindu community on 13 May 1971.
The prosecution asked the witness to describe his experience on and leading up to 13 May 1971. He testified to the following facts:
- The Pakistani Army entered Faridpur in April 1971. Mujahid along with others formed the Peace Committee (an organization known for supporting Pakistan during the Liberation War).
- On 13 May 1971, he was on his way to Lakkhipur when he saw that 10-12 people were riding in an open jeep car and heading towards the local Board Office.
- He heard from prominent people in the community that Mujahid, Advocate Afzal, Alauddin Kha, Kalu Bihari and a few others were going to Khalilpur Machdhor Union for the Peace Committee meeting.
- He heard later that the same individuals went to the Hindu area in Bakchor after the meeting and killed some people.
- He rushed from his location to his native home in Bakchor to see if his brother Biren Shaha was alright, only to find his brother had been killed and his sister-in-law was crying. He saw the dead bodies of 8 to 10 others including that of Profulla Mitra, Jagabondhu Mitra, Nipen Shikdar, Upen Shaha, and Sanu Shaha. Another young girl named Shugandhi had also been killed after being shot in throat in the next door house. They were killed in Sri Ongon.
- He then fled. He stated he saw Haider Kha and Monindra Pal on his way and asked them to bury his brother’s dead body in Sri Ongon. The bodies were buried there.
After the witness’ testimony the tribunal then moved onto the third case on schedule, Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim – Prosecution Examination of Prosecution Witness 9
The prosecution conducted its examination-in-chief of prosecution witness 9, Jahidul Islam, aged 58 of Akkelpur, Jaipurhat. He testified in support of the allegation that Abdul Alim’s was involved in the killing of Abdus Salam and nine others in early May, as the victims were fleeing the conflict on their way to India. His testimony supports Charge 6 against Abdul Alim, who is alleged to have been an influential leader of the Rajakar Bahini during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.
The witness was asked to testify about his experience in 1971. He testified to the following facts:
- He was 15 or 16 years old in 1971.
- After mass killings and shooting began in early May, he along with a group of 14 other members including Somir Uddin Mandal, Abul Mazhi, Abdul Member, Ebarot Hossain, Abdus Sattar, Abdul Akuddus, Azim , Rabeya Begum and Beli Promukh decided to flee to India and began their journey through Akkelpur on the 7th or 8th of May at around 6pm.
- The reached Bhadsha Union at about 11 p.m when shooting and bombing began. He was separated from the others and took shelter in a house nearby. He was told by the people in that house that the other members of his group took shelter in the Meeting Room (Boithok-khana) of Dr Syed Ali and had locked themeselves in there.
- The next morning he returned to his house. He later came to know that Rajakar Commander Abdul Alim came to Dr Syed’s house along with Pakistani Army and took away 3 member of the group. The remaining 10members were detained in the waiting room of the Akkelpur railway station.
- The witness testified that he went to the station where he saw Ebarot, Sattar and a few others in the waiting room through its window. He heard that they would be handed over to the Pakistani Army after 3 days.
- He returned after 3 days and saw Abdul Alim, Anjum Munshi and Chairman Motiur Rahman in the midst of a discussion. He said the 10 detained persons were then boarded on a train as per the suggestion of Alim, Munshi and Rahman.
- He later found out that 9 of them were killed in a place called Koktara Pukurpar, whereas one of them managed to escape but was injured.
- After this the he fled to India.
- He testified that he had heard that Alim used to advise the Pakistani Army.
After the witness’ testimony the tribunal adjourned for the day.