Due to a nation-wide hartal our researchers were unable to attend proceedings today. The following summary is compiled from media sources and Prosecution and Defense.
Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
The senior Defense Counsel for Chowdhury completed the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 25, Abu Taher Chowdhury, and Prosecution witness 26, Md Solaiman. See here for coverage of their examination-in-chief. Once the cross-examination was completed the Tribunal adjourned the case until 17 April 2013.
Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 25
The Defense questioned Abu Taher Chowdhury about personal details such as his schooling, national ID card, and memory of the location of the homes of UP Chairman Shamsu and Motaleb Chowdhury. He was also asked about the victim, Saleh Uddin. He stated that in 1971 Saleh Uddin was a student of Chittagong University, but he did not know what year of studies the victim had completed at that time. The witness also could not say whether Saleh Uddin was a resident student at Alaol Hall of the Chittagong University or not.
The Defense asked Abu Taher about the political situation in 1971. He testified that he did not know whether the Muslim League was divided into three parts in 1971: the Kaiyum Muslim League, Council Muslim League and Convention Muslim League. He claimed that Shamsu Miah, Badsha Saudagar and Nurul Huda Qaderi Maizha Miah were supporters of the Muslim League but did not know whether they supported the Kaiyum Muslim League in particular. The witness could not say whether Sultan Miah was the head of the Kaiyum Muslim League at that time.
Abu Taher asserted that in 1971 Saleh Uddin was the teacher of Motaleb Miah’s three sons, Harun-ur-Rashid, Humayon Chowdhury and one other. Abu Taher admitted that all three sons of Motaleb Miah are still alive along with the two daughters of Motaleb Miah.
Abu Taher denied that Sekander Hayat Khan was the commander of the freedom fighters in Patchlaish and Chandgaon. He witness stated that he does not know whether his name appears on the list of freedom fighters at the Chittagong DC office. He claimed that at the end of April or in the beginning of May 1971 he went to India.
Abu Taher said that he had heard of freedom fighter Dr Mahfuzur Rahman, but stated he had not read his book ‘Bangali-r Jatiotabadi Shangram Mukthi Juddhe Chittagong.’ Abu Taher also testified that he had heard of Dr Anissuzzaman. He denied that he was present during the killing of Sharafat Ullah and Captain Bakhtiar. Abu Taher said he does not know whether Sharafat Ullah was elected as a Member of Parliament from Abu Taher’s home area. He admitted that in the last election Ershad Ullah, son of Sharafat Ullah, was a candidate for the BNP. He asserted that Sharafat Ullah was the Chairman of the Peace Committee.
Abu Taher denied that in his original statement to the Investigating Officer he did not say that he, as a freedom fighter, had attempted to determine Saleh Uddin’s whereabouts and had thus found out that Saleh Uddin had been taken to Fazlul Qader Chowdhury’s house at Goods Hill. The Defense alleged that this story was not part of his original statement and that he (Abu Taher) did not tell the Investigating Officer that he had made a plan to rescue Saleh Uddin. The Defense further alleged that Abu Taher did not tell the Investigating Officer that the day after the alleged abduction, Badsha Miah Saudagar and Nurul Huda Qaderi went to Goods Hill and were able to bring Saleh Uddin back.
Abu Taher affirmed his prior testimony, claiming that after Saleh Uddin was brought back he was taken to the house of Motaleb Miah first. He denied that he had taken this story from book or newspaper. He could not remember the name of the person told him about Saleh Uddin’s abduction.
The witness denied that Saleh Uddin was not actually abducted or persecuted at Goods Hill. He admitted he cannot definitively give the date of the incident. He denied that Saleh Uddin was captured with arms by the Pakistani Army and taken from Jamal Khan to the Chittagong Circuit House. He denied that Badsha Miah and Nurul Huda Qaderi actually freed Saleh Uddin from Chittagong Circuit House. He denied that Saleh Uddin did not tell him about the incident and that Shamsu Chairman captured Saleh Uddin due to a personal conflict. The witness also denied that he is lying about being a freedom fighter. He denied that he is providing false testimony at the insistence of the Hindu, Buddha, Christian Parishad.
Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 26
The Defense questioned Md Solaiman about his personal details including his schooling, age, profession and affiliation with Prosecution witness Abu Taher.. He stated that Abu Taher Chowdhury (PW-25) is his uncle. In 1971 he testified that he was 13 or 14 years old. The Defense asked him about his knowledge of the area where the incident occurred, and his connection with Motaleb and Chairman Shamsu. Solaiman stated that he was interviewed by the Investigating Officer in the house of Motaleb Chowdhury and that his uncle, Humayon, and others were present during the interview. The witness stated that he is a supporter of BNP.
Solaiman testified that he did not go to the Chittagong Circuit House or Stadium in 1971. He additionally testified that before 1979 he had not met or seen Salauddin Qader Chowdhury in person. He stated that from 1979 until now Salauddin Qader Chowdhury has been an elected member of Parliament. He thought that in the last election Salauddin Qader Chowdhury may have campaigned for Earshad Ullah. He said that general people known Salauddin Qader Chowdhury as a renowned politician. The witness claimed that he was not involved in student politics. He denied that he campaigned for Moinuddin Khan Badol in the last election.
The Defense questioned the witness about what he told the Investigating Officer during his initial interview. The witness stated that he does not remember whether he told the Investigating Officer that at the end of July 1971 he learned that Saleh Uddin, was taken to the Goods Hill by Shamsu, a UP chairman of the nearby village, along with the Pakistani army and some Razakars. Solaiman denied that he did not tell the Investigating Officer that Saleh Uddin was brought back from Goods Hill one day later. The witness also denied that he was lying by saying that Saleh Uddin claimed that Fazlul Qader Chowdhury, Salauddin Qader Chowdhury and others persecuted him.
Solaiman denied that Saleh Uddin was actually captured with arms on Jamal Khan road and taken to the Chittagong Circuit House, and that Badsha Miah and Nurul Huda Qaderi later freed him. The witness said he did not know whether Shamsu Chairman knew Saleh Uddin before the alleged incident or not. He testified that Saleh Uddin was the tutor of Motaleb’s sons and daughter. Solaiman claimed that Saleh Uddin stayed at the witness’ house and that 2 or 3 years before 1971 he began to stay at Motaleb’s house where he worked as a tutor. He could not give a definitive date for the alleged incident but claimed that it was around the end of July. He denied that Saleh Uddin was not actually a tutor and did not stay Motaleb’s house. The witness denied giving false testimony.