Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid: Cross-examination of Prosecution Witness (Accused Present)
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim: Cross-examination of Prosecution Witness (Accused Present)
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman: Cross-examination of Prosecution Witness (Accused Present)
In the Mujahid case, Mr Shahriar Kabir, Prosecution Witness-1, was cross-examined by the senior Defense counsel Mizanul Islam. Kabir is the author of a book on liberation war titled “Ekatturer Ghatok o Dalal ra Ke Kothay” (Where are the collaborators and miscreants of 71), a book referred to by many other Prosecution witnesses and heavily relied upon by the Prosecution. He has been questioned about the documents he gave to the Investigation Officer and its source and authenticity. He was further asked about the formation “Gono-todonto Commission” (Public Enquiry Commission) on 26th March and the research and investigation procedure maintained in the publication of its reports.
Following Mujahid’s case, the court moved to Muhammad Kamaruzzaman’s case wherein Mr Abdur Razzaq, the Investigation Officer of the case and PW-18 was cross-examined by Defense counsel Mr Kaful Uddin Chowdhury. The Defense’s main line of questioning was aimed at attacking the reliability of various prosecution documents collected and compiled by the witness.
The cross-examination of the prosecution witness in the Alim case was delayed until tomorrow.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Mujahid
The Defense cross-examined Mr Shahriar Kabir, Prosecution Witness-1, who is the author “Ekatturer Ghatok o Dalal ra Ke Kothay” (Where are the collaborators and miscreants of 71). The book heavily relied on by the Prosecution and the prosecution witnesses.
The core line of questioning was aimed at attacking the reliability and credibility of the witness’s testimony, suggesting that Shahriar Kabir strongly opposes Jamaat religion based politics and hence is giving false evidence to implicate Jamaat leaders. Mr Shahriar commented that he thinks Jamaat is a political party of mass murderers and an organization of war criminals that committed crimes against humanity and gave legality to murder and rape in the name of religion. He thinks religion is a holy matter that should be kept separated from politics.
During the cross-examination, comments were sought regarding the book “Chithi” (Letter) by Begum Mostari Shofi and the fact that the name of Mujahid was not found in the early edition of Shahriar’s book.
The Defense asked the witness whether he gave the newspaper Daily Azad dated 11 December 1971 to the Investigation Officer. He replied that he gave many documents to the Investigating Officer and does not specifically remember the particular documents. Defense counsel suggested that he did not provide the newspaper.
When asked whether Mujahid’s name was listed as an Al-Badr member in the first report of the “Gono-todonto Commission” (Public Enquiry Commission), Kabir commented that his name was not in the first report because they only had limited resources and therefore it was decided that inquiry into the misdeeds of only eight people would be carried out every year. He further stated that Mujahid’s name was in the 2nd report published on 26th March 1995.
When Questioned about the details of “Gono-todonto Commission” (Public Enquiry Commission) Kabir said that it was formed on the 26th of March 1993. He stated that researchers were not appointed in every district and that central researchers collected information from various districts. When asked who supervised the research and the total number of researchers, Kabir replied that the research was under his leadership but he can’t remember the exact number of researchers. He said the number is in the book. Names of the researchers were not separately given to the Investigating Officer, but the entire book was provided.
Kabir was then asked about his book “Ekatturer Ghatok o Dalal ra Ke Kothay” (Where are the collaborators and miscreants of 71), and the various inconsistencies in its different editions. He commented that it is what is called in Bengali a “Kosh Grontho”, a book that can be amended, corrected and updated in every new edition. The 1989 Edition of the book contains the name of Mujahid, amongst others, as a member of Al-Badr.
Kabir also stated that Mr Zahir Raihan had two wives, Shuchanda and Sumita Devi. He claimed that on January 30, 1972, Raihan was called from his home to Mirpur, accompanied by his family members, some freedom fighters and the witness.
Kabir was also asked about a case against him for treason during the four-party alliance government (2001-2006), in particular a Section 164 statement given by him to the Magistrate. The witness became angry and nstated that the case was quashed by the Supreme Court and sshould not be brought up here.
When asked about Begum Mostari Shofi’s book named “Chithi” (Letter) whereby she commented that Shahriar Kabir did not participate in the liberation war but rather used to sell chicken to the Pakistani Army, he replied that it is a blatantly false statement and that Mostari was expelled from the Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee along with 11 others for their unacceptable activity.
He opined that freedom fighters and those who were in favor of the liberation war may also become part of anti-liberation force by reason of their activity after liberation.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Kamaruzzaman
The Defense conducted the cross examination of Prosecution witness 18, Abdul Razzaq, the Investigating Officer for the ICT. Throughout the cross-examination, the defense counsel highlighted the various inconsistencies in the report submitted by the Investigation Officer in order to undermine the findings of his investigation.
At the beginning of the cross-examination, the Defense suggested that the file in the IO’s hand, used in answering questions posed by the Defense, is not in fact the Case Diary. They suggested that whatever is written in the document has not been prepared by the witness himself, but by someone else. It was further suggested that the IO only used books and newspapers provided by the prosecution as the basis for his investigation and that any document or paper that could have suggested innocence of the accused was intentionally excluded and suppressed.
The IO was asked about Volume-2, Pages 301 to 303, which contains data taken from “Bangladesh er shadhinota juddhey’r dolil potro”, a book published by poet Hasan Hafizur Rahman. The Defense asked whether the poet supported the liberation war. The IO replied that he does not know what the author’s ideologies were but he was amongst the 18 intellectuals who stood against Robindro.
The Defense then drew the attention of the witness to the 3rd Volume, pages 572 and 573, wherein it is stated that Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed and Dr Kamal Hossain had a meeting with Yaheya’s administration and that Dr Kamal proposed changing the name of Pakistan to the “Confederation of Pakistan” on 24th March. Justice Cornleus instead proposed using the name “Union of Pakistan”.
The The Defense counsel drew attention of the witness to the fact that much of the contents of the book “Muktijuddhey dhaka” has been incorporated into pages 582-589 of Volume III, but that it does not contain the name of Kamaruzzaman.
The Defense then turned to pg 606-610 which contains extracts from the book “Al-Badr.” There it states that Major Riyaz formed Al-Badr on 16 May 1971 without any authorization from Superior Officers and that someone named Kamran was its commander. Page 631 further states that on 22 April 1971, Md Ashraf Hossain, who was the Chairman of Momenshahi Islami Chatra Shonngho, formed Al-Badr forces after the Pakistani Army took over Jamalpur. The Defense also noted that pg 109 of Exhibit-8, “Ekatturer Ghatok o Dalal ra Ke Kothay” also states that Ashraf Hossain was the chair, whereas the book on pg 111 and 112 refers to Kamaruzzaman as the Head. Thus the Defense concluded that it cannot be said with certainty whether the accused was indeed the actual head of Al-Badr.
The Tribunal then concluded proceedings for the day. Cross-examination is scheduled to continue tomorrow.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Alim
Cross examination of PW-10 in Abdul Alim’s case was deferred until February 13.