30 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Chowdhury PW 31, Nizami PW 6

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

Chief Prosecutor vs Salauddin Qader Chowdhury: Examination-in-Chief and Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 31, Accused Present

Chief Prosecutor vs Motiur Rahman Nizami: Examination-in-Chief and Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 6, Accused Present

Today the Tribunal heard the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 31, Shujit Mohazon, in the case of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury. Shujit testified in support of Charge 6, which alleges Genocide and deportation as a Crime Against Humanity. The case was then adjourned until 2 May 2013. In the Nizami case the Prosecution conducted the examination-in-chief of Prosecution Witness 6, Shahajahan Ali. The witness testified in support of Charge 6, which alleges murder as a Crime Against Humanity. The Defense began their cross-examination but did not complete their questioning before the end of the day. The Tribunal adjourned the case until 2 May 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
Shujit Mohazon testified as Prosecution witness 31 in support of Charge 6. Chowdhury is accused of  committing offense of Genocide under section 3(2)(c )(i), 3(2)(3 )(ii) and deportation as Crimes Against Humanity under section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act.

The Defense began by asking Shujit Mohazon about his profession. Shujit stated that he he is a shopkeeper and received his trade license from the Union Council. The Defense suggested that the Mohazon name is known as being involved with determining interest rates in Chitagong. The witness said he did not know anything about such business.

The Defense then asked the witness about Bozlur Rahman road. Shughit that the road was visible from his house but that he did not see any army vehicles on the road on the day of the incident on that day.

The Defense asked whether Shujit or his brothers filed a case regarding the killing of his father and brother. Shujit said they did not. The Defense suggested that his brother Sri Krishno Bhattacharjaya filed case case no-22 at the Rowjan police station  on 20 February 1972 under section 302/376 of the Penal Code and section 11 of the Collaborators Act. The case accused Lieutenant Colonel Fatemi from Pakistani army and, Abdur Razzak, Mokbul Ahmed, Mohammad Eusuf, Zohir Ahmed, Peyaru Miah, Mokbul and Fajor Ali from Unsattar para on involvement in the killing. Shujit Mohazon said he knew nothing about this case. The Defense alleged that the witness was aware of the case and is lying to hide that he knows the Accused was not originally charged in the case.  Shujit denied the allegation.

The Defense alleged that Shujhi did not the Investigation Officer that his mother was shot during the attack. Shujit denied the allegation. The Defense asked how long after the attack he met with  his aunt, sister-in-law and sister, and whether they told him about the incident at that time. Shujit replied that he met with them after an hour after an hour and stated that they did not tell him about the incident at that time. He added that his mother was injured and so they were focused on her. The Defense alleged that when Shujit was an interviewed by the Investigating Officer inside the Rowzan Polli Biddhuth compound a retired headmaster was present. Shujit denied that. Defense also alleged that there were killings inside the house of his neighbors.

During the examination-in-chief, Shujit had testified that just beside their tube well he got the corpses of his father and brother. The Defense asked him how far the tube well was from his house. Shujit answered that it was 100 yards away. During examination-in-chief, he had testified that he also saw 60-62 corpses in the north side of the pond. The Defense asked him how far the bank of the pond was from the tube well. Shujit answered 150 yards. Defense asked him whether he went to the bank of the pond after the alleged incident. Shujit answered that he did but that the place was visible from the tube well area. Shujit had also testified that when the Pakistani army and their Bengali accomplices entered the house he hid himself beside a Gola (storage barrel for rice). The Defense alleged that Shujit did not provide this detail during his initial interview with the Investigating Officer. Shujit denied the allegation and asserted that he had provided all the details during the initial interview. The Defense asked him the height and seize of the Gola. Shujit answered that it was round.

The Defense claimed that Shujit’s mother died in 2011, whereas Shujit claimed that she died in 1990. The Defense asked the witness about the two hospitals located near his home. Shujit said he did not give the Investigation Officer any documents relating to the treatment of his mother.

The Defense asked if the witness had heard that all the Hindus of Unsattar para went to hiding in 1971 and that the day before the alleged incident Dr Nironjon Datta Gupto brought them back. Shujit answered that he had heard the same allegations. During examination-in-chief Shujit had testified that he heard from his mother that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury and his accomplices were present during the incident. He had testified that he heard about the killing of Maddha Gahira, Kundeshori, Jogomollopara, Banikpara and testified that Pakistani army killed almost 150 persons of ethnic minority in these areas. The Defense alleged that Shujit did provide this version of events to the Investigating Officer during his initial interview. Shujit denied the allegation.

Finally, the Defense alleged that the Prosecution coached Shujit’s testimony. They stated that Shujit’s mother had no way of knowing Salauddin Qader Chowdhury as he was not her friend or classmate and did not run for election before 1971. The Defense claimed that Shujit left Unsattar para with his neighbors and was not present during the incident. They asserted that the killings at Unsattar para took place on 15 April 1971, not 13 April as alleged by Shujiit . Additionally the Defense alleged that Shujit was providing false testimony under pressure from the Hindu, Buddha, Christan Oikkya Parishad. Shujit denied all of these allegations.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami
Shahajahan Ali, Prosecution witness 6, testified in support of Charge 6. Under the Charge it is alleged that on 27 November 1971 Nizami and members of the Razakars and Pakistani military raided the house of Dr Abdul Awal and other adjacent houses in Dhulaura village. The charge further alleges that after the Pakistani army left, Nizami and his accomplices caught 22 survivors who they killed at the bank of the Ishamoti river. Nizami is charged for his involvement in murder as a Crimes Against Humanity under Section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act and section 4(1) and 4(2) of the ICT Act 1973.

Shahajahan Ali testified that he was a freedom fighter and was injured during the war. He currently receives a pension of 10,000 taka per month for his service. He testified that on 28 November 1971 there was battle between the freedom fighters and the Pakistani army. The Pakistani army captured him and some other freedom fighters. He stated that Sattar Razakar took him with 7 other freedom fighters to the riverbank following Motiur Rahman Nizami’s order. He testified that in the presence of Motiur Rahman Nizami they attacked him with a bayonet and slit his throat. The other freedom fighters who were taken with him were also attacked with bayonets and killed. He survived and after the attack he was taken by locals to Ranjit Sharkar’s house located at Fulbari and then to Pabna Hospital where he was treated for a month. Shahajan testified that he was then moaved to the Dhaka Medical Hospital where he was treated over the course of 4 years. He testified that more than 300 or 400 people died in the battle at Dhulaura. He stated that the Investigation Officer interviewed him. He identified Nizami in the dock.

The Defense began by asking about the witness’ personal details, including his education and profession. The Defense then sought to discredit the witness by revealing accusations of fraud and embezzling. They stated that the witness had been fired from his job at Shonali Bank because he and the bank manager were involved in embezzling money from the bank. Shahajahan admitted that he and the manager had been fired and that there were allegations of embezzlement but asserted that he was not involved with stealing from the Bank.

The Defense then asked the witness about his political involvement. Shahajahan acknowledged that he had been actively involved in the Awami League before 1971 and remains a supporter of the party. He admitted that he knows Nazim Uddin Khattab (PW-5). Shahajahan testified that he became a freedom fighter on 14 June 1971. He said that prior to June 1971 he regularly communicated with Abu Sayed. He admitted that Moulana Ishaq was Abu Sayed’s nearby political rival and was affiliated with Nejami Islam. The Defense suggested that Jamaat-e-Islami had no power in his area in 1971. Shahajahan denied the suggestion. They then asked the witness whether he saw Motiur Rahman Nizami in 1970. Shahajahan answered that he did not see him in 1970 but had heard his name. Defense asked him about the residence of Nizami. Shahajahan answered that he heard that Nizami’s home is in Monmohapur under Sathiya police station.

Defense then asked Shahajahan who the Chairman of the Peace Committee of Sathiya police station was in 1971. The Witness said he could not remember. The Defense asked if there were any members of the Peace Committee, Razakars or Al-Badr in his area. He again said he could not recall. The Defense asked who organized all of the freedom fighters in his area. He stated that it was Abu Sayed.