3 Feb 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Contempt Proceedings, Witness Testimony in Gholam Azam and Nizami

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Contempt Proceedings Against the Economist
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs Ghulam Azam – Defense witness 1 testimony (Accused not Present)
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs Motiur Rahman Nizami – Prosecution witness 2 (Accused Present)

On February 3, 2013 Mustafizur Rahman requested 4 weeks of adjournment on behalf of the Economist to reply to the 6 December 2012 Tribunal order in which the former Chairman of ICT-1 issued an order to show cause for contempt in relation to their reporting of alleged Skype and email conversations between the Chairman and foreign legal expert Ahmed Ziauddin. The Tribunal granted Mr. Rahman and the Economist a month and fixed the next date for hearing as 3 March 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam
On February 3, 2013 Defense witness 1, Abdullahil Amaan Azmi, a former Army personnel and the son of accused Gholam Azam provided testimony. He introduced several documents as exhibits. He exhibited photocopies of reports published in the Don newspaper dated from February 12 to October 28, 1971 and photocopies of reports published in the Pakistan Observer dated from April 1 to July 29, 1971.

While Defense was exhibiting the newspapers Prosecution raised an objection regarding the context of the newspaper reports. The Tribunal however declined to consider the objection. The Prosecution then stated that they would file an application regarding their objection. The Defense witness then exhibited photocopies of two photos against the objection of the Prosecution. He also exhibited photocopies of Bangladesher Sadhinota Juddho Dolilpotro (published in June 1984 vol-10); Bangladesh Document 1971 (Part-3); Shanti Committee 1971 (Published in February 2012) a book written by Muntasir Mamun; and Judhoporad, Gonohottha and Bicharer Oneshon (published in May 2001) a book written by Dr M A Hasan. The Defense witness also exhibited a Office Memo No. 164(10)/con Dated May 25, 1971, regarding the appointment of the Razzakars. The Defense witness also exhibited a video clipping of a talk show ‘Shoja Kotha’ aired by Desh TV on May 14, 2012 and a video clipping of a program ‘Ronogoner Dinguli’ aired by BTV on April 20, 2012.

Abdullahil Amaan Azmi testified that the Language Movement started after 1947 and that between 1948 and 1954 Gholam Azam went to prison three times for his leadership in Language Movement. Azmi alleged that by eliminating Gholam Azam’s contribution from the history of Language Movement, the history of language Movement has been distorted. He further alleged that in a similar way over the last 41 years the history of Independence has been distorted and the involvement of Gholam Azam with the Liberation War has been repainted in a negative manner.

Azmi stated that in 1971 Gholam Azam was one of 130 members of the Peace Committee. But Azmi asserted that Gholam Azam was not of official status within the Peace Committee. He alleged that in the last 41 years no action has been brought against any of the official members of Peace Committee including the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Joint Secretary, but nonetheless proceedings have been brought against the unofficial members of the Peace Committee for committing the alleged crimes. He claimed that the prosecution against Gholam Azam was brought only for political reasons and was designed to undermine him.

Thereafter, Prosecutor Haider Ali started to cross-examine Azmi. During the cross-examination he admitted that Moin E U Ahmed was the only Four Star General and that General Mostafizur Rahman was a honorary Four Star General.

The Tribunal then adjourned the case until Monday February 4, 2013

 Chief Prosecutor vs Motiur Rahman Nizami
In the Nizami case the Defense conducted cross-examination of prosecution witness 2, Zohiruddin Jalal alias Bishu Jalal, a former Freedom Fighter. During the cross-examination Zohiruddin Jalal admitted that it is possible to become a member of Muktijudha Songshod (an organization of freedom fighters) at any time. He admitted that he became the member of Muktijudha Songshod in 2005 and he could not remember his membership no. He stated said that former President Ershad first published a list of freedom fighters and then from 1991 to 1996 a voter list of freedom fighter was published. A freedom fighter’s list was also published by the Awami League. Jalal admitted that his name was not on the list of freedom fighters. He said that he applied to include his name in the voter list of Muktijudha Songsod as a member of Central Command Council in 1992. He said that he was the 35th member of Muktijudha Songsod. He admitted that those who are not a member of Muktijudha Songsod do not have a right to include their name in the voter list of Muktijudha Songsod.

Jalal said that he took admission in Westend School in 1970 in the 8th class. He could not continue his education into the 9th class in 1971 due to the Liberation War. He said that he passed SSC with second class in 1972 as a private student of Saleha School. He admitted that he could not remember the name of the subjects he took in SSC examinations. After that he took admission in Jogonnath College.

Jalal stated that during the Liberation War he used to read the Daily Purbo Desh but did not like to read the Shongram. He said that on August 29, 1971 he heard from someone that a report was published in Songram stating that some miscreants (Shongram used to describe freedom fighters as miscreants) were captured with arms and hearing this news he went to the Police Station with his uncle Bahauddin. He admitted that he saw 20 to 25 people there. He admitted that while testifying in Tribunal-2 he mistakenly said that he saw Rumi, Boudi, Jweal, Azhar, Chullu vai, Altaf Mahbub there (in the police station) due to the time gap of 41 years. He admitted that his first interview regarding Liberation War was published in the magazine of Westend School in 1972 or 1973. He admitted that his interviews were published in different newspapers including the Daily Prothom Alo and the Daily Jonokhontho, however, as far his knowledge none of his interviews were not published in Ittefaq, Azad or Purbo Desh. He said that he did not know whether his interview was published in any books or not. He said that he has given interviews to the Investigation Officer Razzak on two occasions. He stated that the commander of Bisshu Bahini was Shojib and he (Jalal) was given the title of Bisshu from Major Khaled Mosharrof, Commander of sector-2. He admitted that Razzakar of the Romna Police Station area was Gurha and that there was no Peace Committee in Savar.