Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs Gholam Azam – Cross-examination of DW-1 (Accused Not Present)
- Chief Prosecutor vs Salauddin Quader Chowdhury: Cross-examination of PW 17 in-camera (Accused Present)
A number of administrative matters were brought to the attention of the Tribunal, including allegations of harassment of Defense counsel, in-camera examination of the witness, and Chowdhury’s counsel.
The Tribunal then began addressing items in the cause list, beginning with the Gholam Azam case. The Prosecution continued its cross-examination of DW 1, Abdullahil Aman Azmi, who is the son of Gholam Azam and a former Army personnel.
After the mid-day break Defense counsel for Salauddin Qader Chowdhury began their cross-examination of prosecution witness 17 in-camera.
Harassment of Defense Counsel
Before the Tribunal began hearing matters related to Gholam Azam’s case, Senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzak notified the court that today (10 February 2013) his clerk was not allowed to enter into the Tribunal. He further submitted that yesterday police conducted a warrantless search of his chambers located at Noya Polton. He stated that the Defense would file an application regarding this incident.
Tajul Islam submitted that he could not bring all the defense documents into the Tribunal as it is not possible for one junior counsel to carry all of these documents. Thereafter, the Tribunal called the Registrar to solve the problems.
Thereafter, Prosecutor Zead-al-Malum began discussing Salauddin Quader Chowdhury’s case and the examination of prosecution witness 17. Justice Jahangir Hossain said that there was no reason to question PW 17 in-camera. The discussion devolved and Prosecutor Zead al-Malum began speaking loudly over the justices, angering Justice Jahangir. Justice Jahangir said that Zead al-Malum’s manner of submission was objectionable. He further said that the Prosecutors should show respect towards the Tribunal. The Chief Prosecutor apologized on behalf of prosecutors.
Defense Counsel for Chowdhury
On January 30, 2013 Salauddin Quader Chowdhury filed an application to cancel the appointment of his engaged lawyers for the duration of the privilege period ( the seven days pending before the conclusion of the current session of Parliament) under Section 7 of the Members Privilege Act 1965. The Tribunal accepted this request and subsequently appointed Salma Hai Tuni as state Defence Counsel. However, on February 10, 2013 the prior Defense counsels for Salauddin Quader Chowdhury made submissions before the Tribunal. Defense counsel Hena submitted that he apologized for his conduct on January 30, 2013, when he left the Tribunal without submitting an application stating that he wished to continue proceedings on behalf of Chowdhury. The Tribunal asked him to submit a written apology.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam
The Prosecution continued its cross-examination of Abdullahil Aman Azmi. He is the Defense’s first witness and the son of Gholam Azam, as well as a former Army Personnel. Azmi continued answering questions regarding the alleged political affiliations of newspapers. He stated that the Daily Shangram may have started its publication in 1970 but that he cannot remember who the editor or publisher was at that time. The Prosecution highlighted that in ‘Gibone Ja Dekhlam’ a book written by Gholam Azam, Gholam Azam mentioned that a person called Murad started the publication of the Daily Shongram on January 17 (page 96, para-3).
In answer to the Prosecution’s question, Azmi said that doesn’t know whether the books written by his father are part of the curriculum of any foreign public university. He stated that he has a little knowledge about different religious institutions located in Bangladesh. He further said that he did not analyze whether Jamaat-e-Islami is a political party or a religious party. He said that the ground or reasoning behind the division of British-India and Pakistan-Bangladesh were different. He said that he cannot say whether Jamaat-e-Islami and Awami League were a party alliance or not, however, he said they sit together and work together for a common goal. Azmi further said that in the National Election of 1991 Awami League won 86 constituencies, where Jamaat-e-Islami won 18 constituencies. He said that he did not submit any documents regarding the cancellation of citizenship and subsequent applications. He said that he doesn’t know what procedure was followed by the government to cancel the citizenship of Gholam Azam.
Azmi further said that he doesn’t know how many votes Justice Bodrul Haider Chowdhury received in the National Election. He said that Gholam Azam was a national of Bangladesh by birth and that they believe he remained Bangladeshi even after the cancellation of his citizenship.
He testified that he doesn’t know how many times his father went to Saudi Arabia while residing in London. He said he came to know from reading books that some of his family members who went to perform the Hajj met with his father. He said that he heard that his father met with the King of Saudi Arabia while his father was traveling Saudi Arabia but that he did not know how many times such meetings took place.
Azmi testified that the use of Marshal Law by the government is regulated by Marshal Law Regulation and that after declaring Marshal Law the Government generally passes the rules and regulations for how the Marshal Law will be applied. He further said that there are no specific rules and regulations for Marshal Law. He said that during the period of Marshal Law in 1958 political parties were banned, but that he cannot say whether any political parties were banned during the Marshal Law in 1969. He said that Exhibits-A, B and C (exhibits regarding the Marshal Law) did not mention any law or source. He said he began his testimony on November 12, 2012 and signed the testimony on November 18, 2012.
Azmi then acknowledged that Exhibit-D page-18 para-3 stated that Moududi selected Professor Gholam Azam as one of the 5 member team for lobbying in the Assembly for the framing of an Islamic constitution. In the same page of the same exhibit there was a title ‘How he began work and became a top man’? Azmi confirmed that ‘he’ refers to Gholam Azam. Azmi further stated that Exhibit-D is a book written by Muhammad Nuruzzaman and that the book writer did not refer directly to Gholam Azam, however, in the preface (para-7) the writer expressed his thanks to Jamaat leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh for their co-operation. Azmi acknowledged that the book was first published on November 7, 1992 and that at that time Ghulam Azam was the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami.
Azmi acknowledged that Exhibit-E, a book written by Sheikh Akhtar Hossain page-20, para-2, stated that Gholam Azam met with the King of Saudi Arabia for the first time in January 1973 and requested him to keep the Bangladesh Government under pressure. The Prosecution highlighted that Page-19, para-5 of Exhibit-E stated that in July 1973 Ghulam Azam gave a speech in the International Islamic Youth Conference in Tripoli, Libya. Azmi said the does not know what the content of the speech was. The Prosecution then pointed to page 19, para 4 of the same book – which states that in July 1977 Gholam Azam gave a speech in the Annual Conference of UFSO. Azmi again said that he doesn’t know what the content of the speech was. He further said that his father Gholam Azam was required to travel these countries with a Pakistani Passport.
Prosecutor Haider Ali then raised questions about the price of this book, claiming that the value of the book indicates that it was published as part of a Jamaa-e-Islami campaign. Azmi disagreed, saying that the price was low because it was published a long time ago when the price of books was low.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
The cross-examination of PW 17 took place in-camera.