18 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Nizami Cross-Examination of PW 4

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami: Cross-Examination of Prosecution witness 4

Today the Defense concluded the cross-examining of Prosecution witness 4, Habibur Rahman Habib. The Tribunal then adjourned the case until 25 April 2013.  The Tribunal had scheduled the examination-in-chief of Prosecution witness 27 in the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case for today. However, the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings until 21 April 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami
Cross-Examination of PW 4
Today the Tribunal heard the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 4, former freedom fighter Habibur Rahman Habib.

Habib testified that he and about 15 or 16 members of his freedom fighter group were present when a group of Razakars were captured in September. He stated that he did not know what happened to the detained Razakars after they were handed over to their unit commander. He could not remember any of the Razakars names, except for one Shorab and Shitu. The witness claimed that 17 or 18 Razakars were detained in total from Dublia in Chortarapur Union. Habib said that their unit commander Shahid Selim was present when these Razakars were detained. He did not see any of the Razakars after the Liberation War because they were killed after being detained. He acknowledged that during the Liberation War he did not see Motiur Rahman Nizami. The witness claimed that he first saw Nizami at Nogorbari Hat when he was elected as a Member of Parliament after the war. Habib said that he did not talk with Motiur Rahman Nizami before or after the Liberation War or when Nizami was minister.

The Defense asked the witness numerous questions about politicians involved with the Muslim League and elected to the national assembly in 1970. In Particular they focused on an individual Captain Jaedi. The witness testified that Jaedi was affiliated with the Muslim League and was the MNA from Pabna before the election of 1970. He stated that captain Jaedi was originally from Pakistan lived in Pabna beside the Rupkotha Movie Theater. He did not know whether he held a position in the local Peace Committee. He heard from others that Jaedi left for Pakistan after the war. The witness was also asked about Amzad Hossain, who was elected to MNA in 1970 following Jaedi.

Habib denied the suggestion that the politics of Pabna were divided into three factions: one led by Captain Monsur Ali and Amzad Hossain, one by Captain Jaedi, and the third by Tipu Biswash and Comrade Alauddin. He acknowledged that he had heard that Captain Monsur Ali and Amzad Hossen led  the Awami League in the district. He asserted that even if Jaedi was the leader of a Pakistani based political group at the time, the real power was held by the leadership of Jamaat-e-Islami.

The witness testified that he heard that Comrade Tipu Biswash and Comorade Alauddin led the Nakshal political group and that after the beginning of the Liberation War they became Al-Badr. He stated that at the time he was in India. He said that he does not think that Nakshal was always an anti-Jamaat organization. Habib did not know who the secretary of the Chhatra Shangho was in 1971, but later said that it was likely someone by the name of Moen.

Habib testified that he does not know where the Pakistani army established their camp in Pabna because he had already left for India. He said that while in India he heard that one camp was located in old Polytechnic and another in the Nurpur Wapda building. He said that he did not attempt to attack those camps. He could not tell the Tribunal where the camp of the Nakshal group was in the Pabna municipalty. During the Liberation War he claimed he did not go to the Aliya Madrassa or its adjacent area. He stated that an Al-Badr camp was located within the Aliya Madrassa.  He did not remember the name of the Al-Badr Commander.

Habib testified that on 19 December 1971 when freedom fighters entered into Pabna they set up their main camp in Gopalpur on abandoned property. Another camp of freedom fighters was located just beside his house. He claimed that he was in-charge of that camp. He said that they detained two or three Razakars and Al-Badrs at the camp. Among them one was Azizul from Al-Badr. The witness denied that Azizul was a member of Nakshal. Azizul was handed over to the Police Station along with the other Razakars on the same day that they were detained. Habib said he did not know what happened to them subsequently.

Habib admitted that his father was arrested two times by the Pakistan army before he was killed. He could not remember the name of the secretary of the Peace Committee at the time but testified that he had searched for the secretary and learned that he had been killed. Habib claimed that cases were filed against Azizul and others, including the case regarding the killing of his father. He could not say what happened in the case subsequently. He claimed that his father’s cousin was the complainant in that case. Additionally, he stated that his uncle was an eye-witness to the killing but is no longer living. He did not know how many persons were accused in the case but estimated about 10 to 12. He said that he thinks they are all died but one or two may be  still be alive. He said that other than Azizul he made no attempt to find out the names of the other accused. Habib denied that he himself shot and killed Azizul. He said that during the Liberation War the Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams forces were so powerful that the Police did not pursue any cases against them. He added that even if a case was filed no action was taken against them.

The Defense asked the witness numerous questions about how he learned of the alleged crimes of the Accused. Habib said that he learned from the newspapers but could not remember the name of the particular publication. He said that a few times in 1971 in the daily Shangram he read that Motiur Rahman Nizami was the chief of Al-Badr. He admitted that after the Liberation War until 1975 he did not see Motiur Rahman Nizami mentioned again. Habib admitted that after the war he did not file a case against Nizami. He claimed that the government filed a case against Motiur Rahman Nizami under the Collaborators Act.

The Defense asked the witness questions implying that he did not know Nizami and had no reliable information about Nizami’s activities during the war. He acknowledged that he did not see Motiur Rahman Nizami personally during the Liberation War. The Defense asked about a book written by Zohirul Islam Bishu, in which Habib is quoted. Habib claimed that Bishu did not consult with him when he has writing the book. He acknowledged that Bishu wrote that Habib’s father was killed by members of Nakshal but denied that this was true. The Defense pointed out that Bishu thanks Habib for his help in the acknowledgments section. Habib admitted that he read the portion related to him before the book was published and that he did not object to the portrayal at the time. He said that he had not read any book in which Motiur Rahman Nizami was alleged to have been involved with the killing of Kasimuddin.

The Defense alleged that Habib did not tell the IO about Shibli and killing of Shibli’s father Kasimuddin. Additionally they alleged that Habib made no statement regarding Azizul’s alleged confession to the killing of Habib’s father, or about the presence of Nizami during the killing. Habib denied the allegations. The Defense also suggested that no case was filed against Nizami prior to 1975. Habib denied this suggestion and denied that he provided false testimony for political reasons.