Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
- Contempt Proceedings against Fakhrul Islam
In the Motiur Rahman Nizami case, the Defense completed the cross-examination of Tofazzal Hossain, Prosecution Witness 10, who testified in support of charge no 15. Thereafter, Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until 9 June 2013. In the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case, the Defense continued the cross-examination of the Investigation officer, Md Nurul Islam, Prosecution witness 41. Thereafter, the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until tomorrow, 6 June 2013.
The Tribunal also fixed 12 August as the date for the next hearing on the potential contempt proceeding against Fakhrul Islam, Defense counsel for Salauddin Qader Chowdhury.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
Cross Examination of PW 10
The Defense continued to cross-examine Prosecution witness 10 about the incident of 17 November 1971. The Defense asked the witness what time the alleged incident took place, where the witness was when it occurred, and how far away he was from the alleged location of the incident. The witness replied that on November 17 at about 01:10 am, freedom fighters attacked the Razakar camp at Sathia Pailot School, and that he was in the adjacent area of the CO office, which is now the Union Council, and was 100-150 yards away from the school.
During the examination-in-chief, the witness testified that on 7 December 1971, while freedom fighters were gathered for a meeting at the police station beside the Pailot School camp, they were attacked. He stated that at that time they were unarmed. The Defense previously asked the witness where the freedom fighters were based between 17 November and 7 December. The witness answered that they were occupying the police station beside the Sathia Pailot School. The Defense claimed that the freedom fighters who took possession of the police station were armed. The witness then admitted that.
The Defense asked the witness about the incident of 7 December 1971: specifically whether anyone other than him was injured, how many people were gathered there, how many rounds of bullets were fired, and whether the witness had personally seen any Razakar members. The witness answered that other than him, no one was injured on that day. The witness testified that 150 or 200 people were gathered at the time of the incident, but could not say how many rounds of bullet were fired.
The Defense asked the witness about the head of the local Peace Committee. The witness testified that he heard that Jobbar is the President of the Peace Committee. Previously in answer to a question, the witness had replied that he heard that the freedom fighters’ commander Mukul took the 14 Razakars detained after the operation of 17 November to Sahjadpur on boats. The Defense alleged that Jobbar, whom the witness identified as President of Peace Committee, was the father of a freedom fighter commander named Mukul. The witness denied that suggestion, but said that the freedom fighter Mokbul Hossen Mukul was the son of the Peace Committee President Jobbar. The witness did not clarify whether there were two freedom fighters with the name Mukul, or only one. The witness testified that Jobbar was an activist in the Muslim League.
The Defense asked the witness whether he had read any newspaper between 1971 and 1975 which stated that in 1971 Nizami had attended a program or given a speech in Pabna. The witness replied that he had heard that Nizami gave speeches in different meetings, but claimed he had not seen this information in a newspaper because lived in remote areas. The Defense then asked the witness numerous questions to demonstrate that the witness did not reside in remote areas throughout this entire period. The Defense claimed that in the last part of August 1971 freedom fighters detained Nizami and took him to the Chor areas. The witness answered that he had not heard this. The Defense claimed that the witness, when he came to Dhaka to testify before the Tribunal, was provided with a copy of the interview which he had given to the Investigation Officer. The witness admitted this. The Defense stated that the witness came from his home with the intention to testify against Nizami, and that his identification of the Accused was meaningless given there is only one person in the dock who could be the defendant. The witness agreed with this. The Defense claimed that a Razakar named Mahtab resided in the witness’s house in 1971. The witness claimed that he could not remember such a person. The Defense alleged that the witness was falsely claiming not to have any memory of Mahtab. The witness denied the allegation.
The Defense claimed that the witness, in his initial interview with the Investigation Officer, did not provide key details which he later testified to at trial. In particular, the Defense claimed that the witness did not claim that he and Nizami were classmates in Boalmari Madrassa; that in May 1971, the school was closed to set up a Razakar camp at Sathia Pailot High School; or that the witness observed the inauguration program from a distance and learned about the decisions of the meeting from attendees. The Defense also claimed that the witness, in his initial interview, did not recount the alleged incident of 7 December during which unarmed freedom fighters were allegedly attacked at the police station beside the Pailot School, or that the witness was shot in his left eye and became unconscious. The Defense claimed that the witness likewise did not say that the followers of Nizami, Abdus Sobhan and Ishaq attacked the local Hindu community and looted their houses, and that the wife of Shunil Joardar was raped in her husband’s presence and then committed suicide out of shame. The witness denied all of these allegations.
The Defense claimed that the incidents of 17 November and 7 December 1971 did not take place, and that the witness collected his salary regularly from his school in person. The witness denied these claims. The Defense claimed that the son of the witness received a job with BTV upon the recommendation of Abu Sayed during the tenure of the last Awami League government. The witness admitted that his son received a job, but denied that it was on the recommendation of Abu Sayed. The Defense alleged that the witness received his job in Upozilla Counsil Primary School on the condition that he testify against Nizami. The witness replied that this was not true.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
Cross Examination of PW 41
The Defense asked the witness about different exhibits, including Exhibits 3, 4, 5, 10, 14, 15, 36, and 39. The Defense claimed that all of the newspaper headings had been altered by computer. The Defense claimed that the witness, during the investigation, did not search for the name of the reporter who collected the information and did not search for information about who was arrested alongside Fazlul Qader Chowdhury. The Defense claimed that the report is not original and is a modified scanned copy altered using Adobe Illustrator. The witness denied that. The witness testified that he did not scan or compose the newspapers, and the person who did these things is not a witness in this case. Regarding Exhibit-15, Defense claimed that the witness did not investigate to find the name of the original reporters, and that Fazlul Qader Chowdhury’s name was added by modification of the scanned copy.
The Defense asked the witness about the source of Exhibit 10. The witness answered that the source was PPI, but did not clarify what the abbreviation means. The Defense claimed that the first line of the report is not clear and that the report does not contain the name of the Accused. The witness replied that the report discusses the son of Fazlul Qader Chowdhury. Defense asked the witness about whether, following receipt of the report, he searched for the driver’s name, address, driving license, or other record of the driver’s death. The witness replied that he asked Siraj Uddin, Kazi Nurul Afsar, ANM Mahbub, and Fazlul Huq Bhuiyan about these things, but did not get any information. The Defense asked the witness whether he searched any local Chittagong newspaper for this information. The witness answered that he went to the offices of different local newspapers but did not receive the original as copies of every issue of the newspapers are not available in the local newspaper offices. The Defense asked the witness who the editor of the Azadi newspaper was at the time of publication, when the witness went to the local office, and whom the witness spoke with while there. They aimed to cast doubt by indicating that the witness did not actually go to the office. The Defense asked the witness whether any case was filed regarding the death of the driver and injury of the Accused. The witness answered that he did not investigate that matter. The witness denied that the news was manipulated in bad faith.
Regarding Exhibit-36, the Defense claimed that Kawsar Sheikh was not the Assistant Librarian when the witness seized the reports. The witness replied that he wrote down what they said regarding their posts. The Defense claimed that the witness seized the Exhibits from Mobarak, and gave the main copies under Mobarak’s custody. The Defense asked the witness whether any requisition was served to make Mobarak appear as a witness. The witness answered that he did not serve any such requisition. The Defense claimed that all the paper cuttings and the seizure list are paper transactions and have been faked. Witness replied that this is not true. The Defense claimed that Exhibit 39 is also a paper transaction and fake and that all of the seized documents have been fabricated. The witness also denied that allegation. The Defense noted that Exhibits 6 through 23 do not contain the name of the Accused. The Defense asked the witness about the profession of the Accused. The witness replied that before 26 March, the Accused was a student, and that from 26 March to 20 September the Accused was involved in the commission of crimes against humanity.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Fakhrul Islam
On 30 December 2012, Fakhul Islam, Defense counsel for Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, filed a petition seeking an order clarifying that the Tribunal judges were not party to any of the Skype conversations that formed the controversy resulting in the resignation of former Chairman of Tribunal 1, Nizamul Hoq. On 3 January 2013, in order to avoid contempt proceedings, Ahsanul Huq Hena, another defense counsel for Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, prayed that the Tribunal consider the petition as ‘not pressed’ and offered an unconditional apology. On 14 January 2013, the Tribunal issued a notice asking Fakhul Islam, Defense counsel of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, why contempt proceedings should not be issued against him. Today, 5 June 2013, the Tribunal fixed 12 August as the date for the next hearing.