20 June 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Chowdhury as DW 1, Nizami PW 11

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami

In the case against Salauddin Qader Chowdhury  the Defendant continued to testify as Defense witness 1 for the fourth consecutive day. In the case against Motiur Rahman Nizami the Tribunal heard the examination-in-chief of  Shamsul Haque alias Nannu, Prosecution witness 11. After recording his testimony, the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until 26 June 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Chowdhury
Chowdhury testified that he is a victim of political persecution. He testified that during the colonial times of the British Raj there was not a single instance of physical abuse or humiliating behavior towards political detainees by either “senior or petty functionalists of the government.” The witness also said he cannot recall a single instance during the 23 years that Bangladesh was part of Pakistan when any political leader or public representative was physically tortured or abused while in custody. Similarly, he said he could not recall a single instance where a judge of a High Court or judges of subordinate courts had confessed their limitations in providing relief to political leaders or even political workers in cases of political harassment. In respons the Prosecution objected, arguing that this last sentence amounts to interference with the judiciary. The Tribunal did not record this sentence.

Chowdhury continued saying that Banghabondhu was arrested on 25 March 1971 by the Pakistani Army, and that even Banghabaondhu did not claim that he was subjected to mistreatment. Chowdhury claimed that he himself first experienced such misbehavior when he was arrested on 4 February 2007 during the caretaker government. The witness testified that every profession except for that of politician has its own association to protect or promote their own interest. Thereafter, Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until 23 June 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami
Shamsul Haque alias Nannu, Prosecution witness 11, testified in support of Charges 2 and 15. Charge 2 alleges that Nizami conspired to commit crimes under section 3(2)(g) of the Act, resulting in murders, rapes and deportation of victims as Crimes Against Humanity. He is charged under section 3(2)(a) and 3(2)(g) read with section 4(1) providing for joint criminal liability and section 4(2), providing for command responsibility. Charge 15 alleges that Nizami conspired to commit crimes under section 3(2)(g) and was complicit in crimes under section 3(2)(h). The Accused is charged under section 3(2)(g) and 3(2)(h) with section 4(1) and section 4(2) of the ICT Act 1973.

Shamsul Haque, alias Nannu, testified that on 24 March 1971 a shopkeeper named Sikander  Ali told him that the Secretary of Islami Chattra Shangho, Motiur Rahman Nizami, along with Maulana Ishaq, Maulana Sobhan, and Rafiqun Nabi alias Bablu, formed a group while meeting at Pabna Aliya Madrassa. The group was made up of the activists of Islami Chhatra Shangho and Jamaat-e-Islami and had the purpose of providing assistance to the Pakistani Army. Nannu testified that Pabna was liberated on 27 March 1971 and that Motiur Rahman Nizami, Maulana Ishaq, Maulana Sobhan, Rafiqun Nabi alias Bablu went into hiding.

Nannu testified that on 9 April 1971 Pakistani forces entered Nagorbari in order to attack Pabna and that they were accompanied by Nizami and his group. He stated that around 11 am a battle ensued between the Pakistani forces and armed freedom fighters. The witness claimed that in this battle many members of the EPR Bengali army, police and some 150 unarmed Bengalis were killed. Due to the intensity of the attack the freedom fighters withdrew and went to Paikarhati, Dabbagan, which is now known as Shahid Nagar. On 11 April 1971 the witness claimed that the Pakistani Army and Nizami and his associates entered Pabna and began burning houses on both sides of the road. He further testified that after entering into Pabna they were involved in indiscriminate killing, looting and arson. In the evening he claimed they attacked his house located at Shalgaria. After looting the house they set the house on fire and beat his family members. Nannu testified that at the time of alleged attack Nizami and his group were present along with the Pakistani Army.

Nannu testified that on 19 April 1971 at about 2 pm the Pakistani Army, along with  Nizami and his group, attacked the freedom fighters at Paikarhat, Dabbagan. Nannu testified that he participated in that battle and observed the incident personally. He stated that on 10 May 1971 at about 10 or 11 am Nizami along with Maulana Abdus Sobhan, Maulana Ishaq, Rafiqun Nabi Bablu and Asad came to the office of the headmaster of the Ruposhi Primary School. Nizami suggested the formation of a Peace Committee and stated that the Pakistani forces would come to the area in order to reinstate peace. Nizami allegedly instructed those at the meeting to help the Pakistani forces. Nannu testified that at that time he was in Demra and that when he learned about the incident he went to  the Ruposhi Primary School where he saw Nizami along with Maulana Abdus Sobhan, Maulana Ishaq, Rafiqun Nabi Bablu and Asad leaving the office of the headmaster. He confirmed that the headmaster confirmed what he had been told about the meeting.

Nannu testified that on 14 May 1971 during the morning call to prayer Nizami, along with the Pakistani Army, Rafiqun Nabi, Maulana Abdus Sobhan and Asad, raided the Ruposhi, Baousgari and Demra villages, shooting and killing unarmed civilians with the intention to destroy all Bengalis. He testified that in that attack 450 persons were killed including Asgor, Ahes, Waz, Apple, Aken, Abdur, Moksed, Khorshed, Abul, Jomiron, Khuderam, Balaram Ray, Dilip Kumar Ray, Monindra Nondi, Alam Pramanik. He described this attack as systematic and pre-planned. Nannu testified that he gave an interview to the National Geography channel and described this as worst mass killing of the world. He testified that during that attack the Pakistani Army, Nizami and his associates set 137 houses, shops, educational institutions and mosques on fire. He testified that 30-40 women were raped. He stated that the Pakistani Army took away two college students Shikha and Shila, who have never been found again. The witness said that during the incident he was in the house of his friend Renua. When he heard the sounds of shooting he left the house in order to flee the area. aim to escape. As he was leaving the house he stated that he saw Nizami, Rafiqun Nabi, Maulana Abdus Sobhan, Maulana Ishaq and Asad pointing towards people and the Pakistani Army shooting the indicated individuals. The witness testified that he hid himself in a drain located at the paddy field. He witnessed many people being shot, buildings burning and women being forcibly taken by the Pakistani Army. He testified that after the Pakistani Army left he visited the spot.

The witness stated that in the middle of May Nizami and 100 to 150 other Razakars inaugurated the Razakar camp located at Sathia Pailot High School. On that day he alleged that Nizami made a speech calling for the killing of the freedom fighters and supporters of freedom fighters. Nizami urged the youths to join the Razakars. He claimed that he observed the incident from the other side of a canal and heard about the content of the speech from the persons who attended the meeting. After that meeting the witness stated that Nizami occasionally visited the camp and that the commander of the camp, Samad Fakir, committed various crimes in different areas of Sathia Upozilla.

The witness also testified that in the middle of May Nizami, then the Secretary of the all Pakistan Islami Chhatra Shangho, set up an Al-Badr camp in the Pabna Aliya Madrassa. Nannu testified that by the instruction, order and conspiracy of Nizami the activists of Al-Badr committed different crimes against humanity such as killing, looting and arson in different parts of Pabna zilla. Nannu testified that Nizami was the head of Al-Badr and that by his instruction, order and conspiracy the activists of Al-Badr committed crimes including mass killing, looting, arson attack, rape, killing of intellectuals all over Bangladesh in 1971. He further testified that Al-Badr killed the intellectuals at Rayerbazar just before the country was heading towards victory in order to implement the conspiracy of pro-Pakistan activists. The witness identified Nizami in the dock and acknowledged that he had been interviewed by the Investigation Officer.