25 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Nizami PW 5, Chowdhury, PW 30

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs Motiur Rahman Nizami: Prosecution Witness 5, Accused Present
  2.  Chief Prosecutor vs Salauddin Qader Chowdhury – Prosecution Witness  30, Accused Present

Today in the Nizami case the Prosecution conducted its examination-in-chief of Prosecution witness 5, Nazim Uddin Khattab. The Defense began their cross-examination, which continued until the lunch break. The Tribunal then adjourned the case until 28 April 2013.

In the Chowdhdury case Defense conducted the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 30, Md Nazim Uddin. The witness testified in support of Charge 4 which alleges that Nizami conspired to commit crimes under section 3(2)(g) of the Act and was complicit in murders, rapes, looting and destruction of properties as Crimes Against Humanity  under section 3(2)(h), section 3(2)(g) and 3(2)(a) read with section 4(1) and section 4(2) of the ICT Act 1973.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami: Prosecution witness 5
Nazim Uddin Khattab testified that on the morning of 25 April 1971 he saw Motiur Rahman Nizami with Rafikun Nabi Bablu, Asad, Afzal, Moslem, Shukur and Siraj doctor attending a meeting at the Union Board Office. He said that after half an hour the meeting concluded and everyone exited the meeting room. Rofikun Nobi Bablu began yelling and verbally insulting the witness and others who were with him. Bablu was angry at them for voting in favor of Boat (the symbol of the Awami League) in 1970 and for supporting the Awami League. The witness further testified that Nizami told them that if they left the village they would assume that they were joining the freedom fighters and their family members would be killed. If they stayed in the village he said no one would be harmed.

Khattab testified that early the morning of 28 April 1971, following the orders of Motiur Rahman Nizami and Afzal, the Pakistani army and Razakars captured his maternal uncle, Habibur Rahman Sardar, and his other companions  near the C & B bus stand. The Army and the Razakars then shot the men to death. Khattab testified that Sama Fakir and other dwellers of the area witnessed the incident and informed Khattab’s grandfather’s family about the incident. He testified that he ran towards the C&B bus stand after hearing the news. He testified that he saw the body of of his uncle and the other men there. They brought his uncle’s body back to his grandfather’s house and then went into hiding.

Khattab testified that on the night of 8 May 1971 Zamidar’s son Probon Bhattacharya and nephew Dulal were staying with him. Just before the sun rise they heard the sound of crying and shouting. He testified that he, Dulal and Probon went towards the Zamidar Bari. He testified that there he saw a woman surrounded by Nabi Bublu (an Al-Badr commander),  Asad, Afzal, Moslem and members of the  Pakistani army . Khattab testified that he went back home  and asked his family members to flee. He testified that he then heard the sound of whooting. He went back to the spot with Probon and Dulal and found Tara Halder injured and bloody. He testified that Tara Halder said him that following the orders of Motiur Rahman Nizami, Rofikun Nabi Bublu,  Asad, Afzal, Moslem and Pakistani army surrounded the area and ordered him, Sosti Halder, Adu, Kartik, Santi Halder, Zamidar Shoilendronath Bhattacharya, Dijendranath Bhattacharya, Karu Thakur, Morali Chandra Das, and Suresh Chandra  to stand in a line  in front of the Zamidar’s worship room. Then they open fire, trying to kill them all. Tara also told Khattab that the Razakars and Pakistani Army also charged them using bayonetsSomehow Tara halder said she miraculously survived.

Khattab further testified that Shoilendronath Bhattacharya’s daughter Shibani, daughter-in-law, and one other housewife were raped that day. He testified that after everything Probon and Dulal left for India with their families . He testified that 8 bodies were buried in a single place. One body was buried separately because people who were present raised objections due to his low class.

Khattab stated that in May 1971 he also found out that Motiur Rahman Nizami was the head of Al-Badr and secretary of Islami Chhatra Shangho. He testified that he had known Nizami since 1970 when Nizami campaigned for Anwarul Huq Anwar while Khattab campaigned for Professor Abu Sayed. He testified that he had seen the ID cards of Pocha Biswash and Khoda Box bearing the signature of Motiur Rahman Nizami. Pocha Biswash was the guard and Khoda box was the then chairman of local Union Parishad Board. Khattab stated that on 7 December 2000 the bones several people were  recovered from that area. Khattab confirmed that he was interviewed by the Investigating Officer 6 November 2010. He identified Nizami in the dock.

The Defense then cross-examined the witness. Khattab admitted that his name is not included on the list of freedom fighters but said that Muktijuddha Commander (the commander of freedom fighters) assured him that his name will appear in the next list. The witness said that Habibur Rahman Habib (PW-4) is the Zilla Muktijuddha Commander (District level commander of freedom fighters). The Defense asked whether Habib was commander during the Liberation War and if Khattab met with Habib during Liberation War.  Khattab answered that he does not know and that he did not meet with Habib during the Liberation War.

Then Defense asked Khattab question about the political situation of 1970 election, who was the candidate, whether there was any other election after Abu Sayed was elected as MNA to raise doubt about his knowledge about the then political situation. Khattab could not answer these questions and said there was no election after Abu Sayed was elected.

The Defense asked Khattab whether he knew Khoda Box and when the Union Board office was set up. Khattab answered that he knew Khoda Box from childhood but failed did not give a date for the formation of the Union Board. Khattab testified that Khoda Box became the Chairman of Peace Committee because he was the chairman of the Union Parishad. Khattab also said that Dr Miraz and Rahim were members of the Peace Committee.

Defense asked Khattab whether any case was filed regarding the killing of his maternal uncle and whether Khoda Box was arrested or not. The witness replied that no case was filed and that Khoda Box was arrested by the freedom fighters but released the same day.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Chowdhury
Cross Examination
Defense counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena cross-examined Prosecution witness 30, Nazim. The witness admitted that  his testimony was based entirely on hearsay. He acknowledged that his aunt Nur Begum is still living  and did not remarry. The Defense asked Nazim whether the father of his aunt, Shona Miah Showdagor, ever filed a case in the Rawzan police station regarding the death of Hanif Miah. The witness replied that he does not know. The Defense stated that his aunt’s father did in fact file a case in Rawzan Police Station. Case no 2, dated 4 February 1972 under section 147/148/364/302 of the Penal Code and under section 11 of the Collaborators Act accuses Munshi Mia and his groups of the killing. The Defense asked the witness whether Salauddin Qader Chowdhury’s name appears in the Complaint or Formal Charge. Nazim replied that he does not know. Defense alleged that he does know but is hiding the matter. The witness denied the allegation.

The Defense asked Nazim if any of his relatives are witnesses in the present case. Nazim answered that Hanif’s wife is a witness of this case. The Defense suggested that Nazma never went to Goods Hill seeking Hanif. They also suggested that the witness’ in-court statements that Nazma witnesses Hanif being tortured and that Chowdhury was in the vehicle were not part of his original statement to the Investigating Officer. Nazim denied these allegations and said he had told these things to the Investigating Officer.

Defense asked the witness who informed him that his uncle had been taken by the Pakistani Army and Razakars. Nazim said he didn’t know. Defense claimed that Nazim gave the false testimony in return for financial benefits from Azharul Huq. Nazim denied the allegation and said he does not know any one called Azhar.