24 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Qasem Ali, Contempt Proceedings, Chowdhury Prosecution Witnesses 29 and 30.

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 Defense and Prosecution.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs Mir Quasem Ali : Investigative Report
  2. Contempt Proceedings against The Economist
  3. Chief Prosecutior vs Salauddin Quader Chowdhury: Prosecution Witnesses 29 and 30

The Prosecution  submitted its progress report regarding the investigation into Mir Qasem Ali. They requested an additional two-weeks to prepare the Formal Charge. The Tribunal scheduled the submission for 9 May 2013.

In  the ongoing contempt proceedings against the Economist, Barrister Mustafizur Rahman Khan sought two weeks additional time on behalf of the Defendants. The Tribunal fixed 14 May for hearing the reply of the South Asian Bureau Chief and Chief Editor.

Today the Prosecution also conducted its examination-in-chief of Prosecution witness 29, Shubol , and  Prosecution witness 30, Md Nazim Uddin. Thereafter, Defense counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena began the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 29. The Tribunal adjourned the case until 25 April 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury: Prosecution Witness 29 and 30
Prosecution Witness 29
Today the Prosecution called witness 29, Shubol. The witness testified in support of Charge 2 which alleges that Salauddin was involved in the murder of Poncha Bala Sharma, Shunil Sharma, Joti Lal Sharma, Dulal Sharma and Dr Makhon Lal Sharma and in the injury of Joyonta Kumar Sharma. It is alleged that these acts of murder and injury were committed with the intent to destroy the members of the Hindu religious group in whole or in part ,which was considered Genocide under section 3(2)(c)(i) and 3(2)(c)(ii).

Shubol testified that in 1971 he was 9 years old. He testified that one night (did not specify the date) he heard shooting and his family left their home to find a safer place in  Binajuri. On the way they heard more shooting  and hide in the bushes for an hour. Shubol testified that they then returned home and found the bodies of Poncha Bala, Shunil, Dulal and Joti Lal, who had been shot and killed. They also found Makhon Lal and Joyonta in the courtyard, injured but alive. Shubol testified that seeing the scene they left again. The witness testified that after the Liberation War he heard that Kazi Farid buried the corpses of these persons at the bank of the nearby pond.

The Defense then cross-examined the witness. Shubol stated that Dulal’s house is within the area covered by Hathazari police station, but Dulal used to reside in his maternal uncle’s house located in Gahira (where the alleged incident took place). Defense asked Shubol about the injured persons and he answered that Joyonto died after the Liberation War but did not know when Makhon Lal died. The Defense asked the witness to describe the scene of the crime, which was a courtyard area. Shubol could not state the approximate length of the courtyard. He stated that he was 9 years old during the Liberation War. Defense asked him about the date of birth. Shubol replied that he doesn’t know the month but is sure he was born in 1962.

Defense asked how far the scene of the crime was from Rangamati road and whether there were motor vehicle accessible roads going to the site. Shubol replied that from the Rangamati road to the site in the Napith Para was a distance of about half a kilometer and that it was accessible by motor vehicle. Shubol stated that the shooting lasted about 10 minutes. About an hour after the alleged incident took place Shubol and his family members returned to the scene. The Defense asked about the neighborhood, how far was the neighbors’ houses were, in which direction, and whether anyone else came to the scene after the alleged killings. Shubol admitted that no one else came other than his family members. He said all of his neighbors fled. He admitted that before the alleged incident a huge number of people fled to India. The Defense asked him about whether there were vehicles on Rangamati road on 13 April 1971. Shubol replied that he was not sure except that there were vehicles from the Army. He denied that he is providing false testimony at the insistance of the Hindu, Buddha, and Christian Oikkyo Parishad.

Prosecution witness 30
The Prosecution then called witness 30, Md Nazim Uddin. He testified in support of Charge 12 which alleges that Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was involved in the  abduction, confinement, torture and murder of Hanif as Crimes Against Humanity under section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act 1973.

The witness testified that in 1971 he was a student in class 8. He testified that his aunt, Nur Begum, was married to Hanif, who was from Pother Hat in the district of the Rawzan Police Station. After the beginning of the Liberation War in 1971 he found out that his uncle had been taken by the Pakistani army. The following day Nazim Uddin and his maternal grandfather Abdul Kuddus and uncle Abdul Karim went to Hanif’s house to find his aunt. While at Hanif’s place he found out that Foez Ahmed, Munshi Miah Razakar and the Pakistani army were the ones who took his uncle Hanif. He testified that he also found out that Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was with in the motor vehicle with the abducting group. He testified that Hanif’s father Shona Miah Shawdagor sent Nazma Begum to the ‘Goods Hill’ to attempt to gain Hanif’s reliease. However, Nazma was unable to negotiate Hanif’s release. He claimed that Nazma Begum saw that Hanif was being tortured. The witness did not specify who was conducting the torture. Nazim Uddin testified that his uncle Hanif never returned. He acknowledged that he was interviewed by the Investigating Officer and  identified Salauddin Quader Chowdhury in the dock.