Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
In the Chowdhury case the Tribunal heard the examination-in-chief of Prosecution Witness 32, Basanti Ghosh. The Defense declined to cross-examine the witness because she did not allege that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury was involved in the mass killing committed in Unsattar para. The then Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until 6 May 2013.
In the Nizami case the Defense filed two applications. The first requested medical treatment for Motiur Rahman Nizami and the second sought admission of additional documents as exhibitis. The Tribunal scheduled the hearing of the applications for Sunday, 5 May. The Defense also concluded cross-examining Prosecution witness 6, Shahajahan Ali. The Tribunal then adjourned the case until 12 May 2013.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Chowdhury – Prosecution Witness 32
Today the Prosecution called Basanti Gosh as Prosecution witness 32. She is the wife of victim Momoranjon Gosh and testified in support of Charge 6. This charge alleges that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury committed Genocide under section 3(2)(c )(i), 3(2)(3 )(ii) and deportation as a Crime Against Humanity under section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act 1973.
Basanti testified that in 1971 (did not specify date) a Pakistani military officer and a Bengali came to her house and captured his husband Monoranjon Gosh. She testified that she tried to make the two men free her husband but that the military officer beat her. She stated that her husband was taken to Khitish Mohazon’s home where he was lined up along with other prisoners and killed. She did not specify how he was killed. She testified that after two days her husband’s brother brought Monoranjon’s body back. She testified that her husband’s name is listed among the names of victims on the memorial monument that now marks the site.
The Defense declined to cross-examine the witness because she did not identify Salauddin Qader Chowdhury as being involved in the alleged crimes.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami
The Defense continued their cross-examination of Prosecution witness 6, Shahajahan Ali. Shahajahan, a victim, testified in support of Charge 6 which alleges that on 27 November 1971 at about 3:30 am Motiur Rahman Nizami, along with Razakars and members of the Pakistani military, raided the house of Dr Abdul Awal and other adjacent houses of Dhulaura village. The charge further alleges that after the Pakistani military member left, Nizami and the Razakars captured 22 survivors and took them to the bank of Ishamoti river. There they were bayoneted and killed. Motiur Rahman Nizami is charged for his involvement in murder as a Crime Against Humanity under Section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act and section 4(1) and 4(2) of the ICT Act 1973.
The Defense alleged that the witness had never sees Nizami before 1986. Shahajahan denied the suggestion. The Defense asked hwhether he provided an interview to a woman sent on behalf of Sahriar Kabir. The witness admitted that he was interviewed but denied the suggestion that someone by the name of Kuddus was present during the interview. Shahajahan stated that Kuddus died 3 or 4 years before the interview. The Defense asked whether the witness was ever interviewed for television or other media. He responded that he gave several interviews. The Defense asked whether he was interviewed by Diganta TV in the presence of his son-in-law Rafiq. The Witness answered that he cannot remember. The Defense then asked if the witness had stated in these interviews that Nizami was present during the alleged incident. Shahajahan said he could not remember. The Defense asked him whether he was interviewed in Shuzanagar in July 2012. The witness again said he could not remember. At this point Nizami’s Defense counsel commented that the witness cannot recall anything. Shahjahan answered that because he has suffered from two strokes he cannot remember many things. The Defense alleged that his testimony was false and was instructed. They stated that in interview with Diganta TV and that given in Shuzanagar in July 2012 he had stated that he did not see Motiur Rahman Nizami before 1986. The Witness denied the suggestion. The Defense also suggested that in one of these two interviews he said that Kuddus instructed him to make allegations against Nizami. The Witness denied the allegation.
It should be noted that the Defense application filed today sought permission to exhibit videos of the alleged interviews in which the witness makes these statements. The Defense stated that if the Tribunal allows their application for additional documents they will see the witness’ prior statements.
The Defense then aksed the witness whether he had seen Nizami before 1971. He said he had not but that he had heard of him. The Defense asked him whether in 1970 he went to the election campaign of Jamaat candidate, Advocate Anwarul Huq. Shahajahan said he did not go to the campaign. The Defense again asked whether the witness saw Nizami before 28 November 1971. The witness changed his answer and said that he saw Nizami in the election campaign of Anwarul Huq in Gowri.
The Defense then asked Shahajahan about Kuddus. He testified that Kuddus was a fellow freedom fighter in his group. He denied meeting with Kuddus on 28 November 1971. After few questions witness stated that he and Kuddus went to Dulauri together. The Defense asked Shahajahan how long he knew Sattar Razakar. The witness stated he heard about Sattar Razakar in 1971. The witness admitted that he Sattar Razakar before 28 November 1971. He further added that he heard from others that Sattar was a Major but did not know whether he was ranked in the army or not. The Witness testified that he saw Sattar Razakar for the first time on 28 November 1971 in Dhulauri.
The Defense then asked the witness about the pension he receives from the government for his service as a freedom fighter. The witness said that he began receiving the pension when the government first started providing it. In the beginning he stated that his allowance was 75 taka. He testified that two years ago he began receiving 10,000 taka. The Defense alleged that government incentivized him to provide false testimony by increasing his allowance to 10,000 taka. The Witness denied the allegation.
The Defense concluded by stating that the witness’ testimony was false and that he was not injured where he claimed to have been injured. Additionally they said that Shahajahan is not a credible witness, that did not pass his SSC examination and obtained employment with a false certificate.