15 May 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Chowdhury PW 35 and 36

15 May 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Chowdhury PW 35

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury

In Chowdhury case the Tribunal heard the examination-in-chief and cross-examination of Prosecution witness 35, Kamal Uddin and Prosecution witness 36, Ezab Uddin Mia.

Prosecution Witness 35
Kamal Uddin provided hearsay testimony in support of charge no 19. The charge alleges that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury committed murder, abduction, confinement and torture as Crimes Against Humanity under section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act 1973.

Kamal Uddin testified that he heard (he did not specify from whom) on the night of 27 July 1971 that the Pakistani Army was holding their neighbor Mahbub Alam’s two brothers, Noor Alam and Noor Mohammad. The witness stated that he went to Mahbub Alam’s house on 28 July and confirmed what he had heard. He stated that in the evening of the 28th Noor Mohammad and Noor Alam returned to the house injured. Kamal met with them at Mahbub’s house and they told him that the Pakistani Army, with the help of Md Yusuf of Mohammad Talukder’s house, came to their house looking for Mahbub Alam. At that time their father was not home so the Pakistani Army instead detained Noor Alam and Noor Mohammad and took them to Goods Hill. Kamal testified that Noor Alam and Noor Mohammad told him that from the Goods Hill they were taken to their tea shop at Chaktai where they found and detained Mahbub Alam. Kamal testified that the two brothers told him that they were again taken to Goods Hill and tortured there. Noor Muhammad and Noor Alam were later released but Mahbub Alam remained in custody. The witness further testified that Mahbub Alam’s brothers think that he was killed. Kamal acknowledged that he was previously interviewed by the Investigation Officer.

The Defense asked the witness numerous questions about the Hathazari Army camp at Goods Hill with the aim of casting doubt on whether the witness was actually familiar with the region. Defense asked where the witness was originally interviewed by the Investigation Officer. He stated that he was at Mahbub Alam’s house and  Mahbub Alam’s sister-in-law was present there. The Defense asked the witness which police station Goods Hill reports to. The Witness answered that Goods Hill falls under the jurisdiction of Kotoali police station. Defense alleged that 24 cases were filed in 1972 at the Kotoali police station and not a single case alleges that torture occurred at the Goods Hill. The witness said he knew nothing about this. The Defense pressed the witness, stating that his testimony is hearsay and asking how he found out about the alleged detention of Mahbub Alam and his brothers. The witness admitted that his testimony was hearsay but did not identify any source. The Defense suggested that the witness did not actually hear from anyone that Mahbub Alam and his two brothers were tortured at Goods Hill and that this is an allegation fabricated by the Prosecution. The witness denied the allegation. The Defense also claimed that the witness is providing false due to the influence of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury’s political opponents. The witness denied the allegation.

Prosecution witness 36
Ezab Uddin Mia testified as a formal witness regarding his provision of documents to the Prosecution in support of the case.

Ezab Uddin Mia testified that on 14 September 2011 the Investigation Officer, Md Nurul Islam, seized 26 newspapers cuttings from the Bangla Academy and made a seizure list which was exhibited as Exhibit-3. He further testified that two signatures appeared on the seizure list. Ezab also exhibited certified copies of 24 reports published in different newspapers during 1971 and 1972. He also exhibited a certified copy of a news report published in 2008 and a certified copy of a news report published in 2011. In total he exhibited 26 newspapers cuttings.

Defense alleged that the witness signed the seizure list as an Assistant Librarian when he did not hold that post. The Defense asked him whether the Investigation Officer submitted any letter of request or application in order to obtain photocopies of the newspaper reports. The witness answered that he does not know but added that they had provided the photocopies following the instructions of the Director and proper procedure.

The Defense claimed that the name and date of the newspaper entered as Exhibit-10 is computer composed and that the heading was enlarged by scanning. The Defense also claimed that the first line of Exhibit-10 is unclear. The Defense also alleged that the name and date of the newspaper admitted as Exhibit-16 is computer composed and does not identify its source. They also claimed that the name and date of the newspapers admitted as Exhibits 29 and 27 are computer composed. The Defense also claimed that the name and date of these newspapers were taken from another place pasted onto these documents. They suggested that the original copies of these newspapers are not actually preserved in the archive at Bangla Academy. The witness admitted that the date and name of the said newspapers are computer composed except for that on Exhibit-29, however he denied that the name and date of these newspapers was taken from another place. The Defense asked the witness whether there is a register recording the books and newspapers archived there and whether the Investigation Officer seized that list. The witness answered that there are register books but that the Investigation Officer did not seize them.