23 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Chowdhury Cross-Examination of PW 28

Today due to a nation-wide hartal our researchers were unable to attend proceedings. Our coverage is compiled from media sources and conversations with the Prosecution and Defense.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs SalauddinQader Chowdhury: Cross Examination of PW 28, Accused Present
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs MobarakHossain: Charge Framing Order, Accused Present

Today Defense counsel for Salauddin Qader Chowdhury concluded the cross-examinination of Prosecution witness 28, Poritosh Kumar Palit.

The Tribunal also issued the official Charge Framing Order against Mobarak Hossain. They rejected the Defense’s request for acquittal and also rejected an application for bail. Mubarak Hossain submitted a plea of not guilty. The Tribunal scheduled the opening of the trial for 16 May 2013. Additionally the court requested that the Prosecution and Defense submit their proposed witness lists on 16 May as well.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury: Cross-examination of Prosecution Prosecution witness 28, Poritosh Kumar Palit, was cross-examined by the Defense. His examination in-chief took place on the 22 April.

The Defense began by asking whether Poritosh or his brothers had filed a case before or after the Liberation War regarding the alleged killing of his father. Poritosh replied that he did not know if anyone he or anyone else had filed such a case at the Rawzan Police Station. He testified that the  Rawzan Police Station is about half a kilometer from his house. He could not say whether his father visited the Police Station before he was killed. He testified that after 25 March 1971 the Pakistani Army went to Rawzan but could not give an exact date.

The Defense then asked him questions about his job as a teacher at RABM high school. He testified that the head master of his school was Abdur Rashid. He stated that when he left the school in 1971  he did not submit the resignation letter or application for leave. He claimed that there were no students from Palit Para or Biswash Para in his school. He testified that his house was about 10 kilometers from the school. He stated that while he was a teacher he also worked as the house tutor for Abul Kashem Chowdhury’s son, Abu Bakar. He acknowledged that Abu Bakar is still living. He stated that he knew the neighbors and that he stayed ab Abul Kashem Chowdhury’s house for over a year. He testified that he did not inform anyone when he left Abul Kashem’s house in 1971.

The Defense asked Poritosh to describe the trip between the scene of the killing and where his family was hiding. He testified that along the road there were shops on both sides of the road, and the houses of wealthy and important people. He admitted that he did not attempt to tell anyone about the killing on his way back. However, he claimed that others were aware of the incident, though he could not say how people heard about it.

The Defense then asked the witness about the scene of the killing. He testified that there were two courtyards at his home – one outside and one inside. He said he did not remember whether the Pakistani army entered the house silently or not. He did not know who helped the Pakistani Army to find his family house. He testified that Pakistani army entered into the yard which was inside of their home.

Poritosh stated that his father engaged in a verbal altercation with the Pakistani army in English, but he did not know what exactly was said because he was too far away. He testified that the distance from the bush where he was hidden to where Salauddin Qader Chowdhury was about 30-40 feet. He testified that he did hear in which language the Pakistani soldiers used amongst themselves. He also said that he could not remember which language Salauddin Qader Chowdhury used to talk to the Pakistani army. He testified that he does not know what ‘dangerous’ translates to in Urdu. He denied that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury did not tell the Pakistani army that “oi lok ta dangerous take mere felo” (the person is dangerous, kill him). He admitted that ‘take mere felo’ is Bangla.

The witness denied that he purposefully did not tell the Investigating Officer that Muslim League activists in his area attacked the Hindu community by burning and looting their houses and raping women. He stated that he could not remember whether he told Investigating Officer that his family had sought shelter at the house of Khetro Mohon Biswash following the decision of his father on April 10 or 11, 1971. Additionally he could not remember whether he told the Investigating Officer that he visited his father on 14 April after the death of Principal of Kundashori, Notun Chandra Shing and attempted to convince his father to leave the house.

Poritosh denied that his story of hiding in the bush and witnessing Chowdhury’s roll in the killing of his father was a lie. He testified that he could not remember whether he told his father to hide with him when he saw the Pakistani army coming towards their house. Poritosh denied that he went to India with his father and aunt before 14 April. He admitted that he had no documentary evidence to show when he went to India. He denied that his father worked in the police department. He said he did not know whether his father had enemies because he wrote false complaints and diaries and denied that his father engaged in such behavior.

The witness asserted that his testimony is true and denied that on the date of incident his father was seen beside Amad’s house. He denied that Salauddin Qader Chosdhury did not say anything to the Pakistani army. He denied that he resides in India and was providing false testimony.