Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
Today the Prosecution completed their cross-examination of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, Defense witness 1. Thereafter, Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until 8 July 2013.
During his examination-in-chief, Chowdhury claimed that he is Chittagonian by birth. The Prosecution stated that the he born to a Bengali Muslim family on 13 March 1949 in Bohira village under Rawjan police station. The witness denied, clarifying that he born in a Muslim family in the Chittagong town under Kotoali police station, not in a Bengali family. The Prosecution alleged that Chowdhury’s mother tongue is Bangla. He denied this as well, claiming that his first language is Chatgia, the local language of Chittagong. The Prosecution asked the witness whether this language has an alphabet which he affirmed.
During his examination-in-chief Chowdhury also claimed that Chittagong has never historically been part of Bengal. The Prosecution asked the witness about Resolution-7, dated 19 July 1905, from a book titled The Partition of Bengal, which they claimed showed that Chittagong was part of Bengal even in 1905. The resolution referred to a proposal to form a new province consisting of Chittagong, Dacca (now Dhaka), Rajsahi of Bengal and Malda, Hill Tipperah, Asam and Darjeeling . The Prosecution read out from the book and asked the witness whether these statements are written in this book. The witness answered yes. The Prosecution asked the witness whether he read the Indian Independence Act of 1947 and is aware of its content, to which he replied affirmatively. The Prosecution then claimed that Chittagong was clearly part of Bengal even before the birth of Chowdhury’s father and had no distinct identity as claimed by Chowdhury. They alleged that the Defendant is intentionally denying history and providing false information before the Tribunal. The witness denied the allegation and added that there is nothing in the Act stating that distinct identity must be recognized by Act.
The Prosecution then claimed that the witness’ testimony on 18 June 2013 amounted to a violation of Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 and 12 of the Constitution, as well as of the Constitution’s. Chowdhury replied that the question put before him did not mention which part of his testimony contradicted which article of the Constitution and that therefore it was impossible to response. The Prosecution claimed that in the general election of 1970 Chowdhury’s father was defeated by the Awami League candidate Khaled. Chowdhury said he was aware of that. Referring to a news report published in the Daily Azadi on 9 December 1970, the Prosecution claimed that after being defeated in the election a gang seeking revenge attacked the Hindus of the Rawzan, beating them, looted their property and set buildings and homes on fire. The witness replied that he is unaware of that incident. Chowdhury further added that the editor of the Daily Azadi was his father’s political opponent Khaled. The Prosecution asked the witness whether he knew that Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujhibur Rahman gave a speech on 11 December 1970 in Binajuri, which is under Rawzan police station. Chowdhury replied that he did not know of that speech as he was then in Dhaka for his studies. The Prosecution claimed that the speech was published in the Daily Azadi on 12 December 1970 (Exhibit-36), and that it stated that Bangabondu urged Fazlul Qader Chowdhury (father of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury) to stop the evil deeds being committed by those following him and his son Salauddin Qader Chowdhury. The witness replied that he never saw such a report in any national daily and is not aware of reports published in the Daily Azadi. Chowdhury reiterated that the editor of the Daily Azadi was his father’s political opponent, Khaled.
After the lunch break, The Prosecution referred to a news report published in the Daily Pakistan on 20 April 1971 (Exhibit-8) which they claimed showed that on 19 April 1971 the witness’ father Fozlul Qader Chowdhury met General Tikka Khan and expressed support for his actions and also congratulated him for the Genocide launched against the Bengali population on 25 March 1971. They alleged that Chowdhury is intentionally attempting to hide this fact. Chowdhury denied the allegation and again reiterated that he was not in Bangladesh on the 19 or 20 April 1971. He added that the news report does not contain the news that Fazlul Qader Chowdhury supported the Genocide or congratulated General Tikka Khan or the Pakistani Army for their action.
The Prosecution claimed that Defense Exhibit-B, a book written by M A Hasan, contains a list of names of political members accused of War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Genocide. The Prosecution claimed that the list contained 106 names and that on page no 166 the name of Fazlul Qader Chowdhy and Salauddin Qader Chowdhury are listed as leader (serial no 95) and member League (serial no 98) of the Muslim League respectively. Chowdhury replied that this is the personal view of the writer. The Prosecution asked whether Chowdhury had submitted any certificate in support of his educational qualifications. He replied that he did not even submit such documents before the election commission. The Prosecution asked the witness whether he had any documents showing his stay at different dormitories. Chowdhury replied that he did not stay in any dormitories. The Prosecution claimed that the witness did not actually study at Dhaka University, Punjab University or Lincoln’s Inn. The witness denied this.
Referring to a news report published in the Daily Pakistan on 29 September 1971, the Prosecution claimed that on 20 September 1971 Chowdhury was injured in a guerrilla attack and took treatment in the hospital while his driver died. The Prosecution further claimed that the Daily Pakistan published this report based on information given by Chowdhury’s father and stated that the witness is intentionally hiding the truth. Chowdhury replied that on 20 September and 29 September he was not in Bangladesh and so the story cannot be true.
The witness previously claimed that his father was killed in the Central Jail in 1973. The Prosecution claimed that the witness’s claim regarding the killing of his father in the Central Jail is not true. CHowdhury replied that he received this information from the writings of two prominent writers published in the Daily Ittefaq. The Prosecution then asked the witness whether his family members ever filed a case regarding the killing of his father. Chowdhury replied that they did not file any case because the only information they had was hearsay. The Prosecution claimed that the name of the martyrs of Kundeshori, Jogothpara, Sultanpur, Unsottor Para and Dewanji Pukur Par are listed in the monument of the concerned area. Chowdhury replied that he cannot confirm or deny whether their names are included as he did not personally visit the place.
The Prosecution claimed that the witness did not file any documents regarding his return to the Bangladesh in 1974. The witness admitted this but he added that the Prosecution failed to file any documents containing his permanent address between 29 March 1971 and 20 April 1974. The Prosecution alleged Chowdhury left the country after the guerrilla attack and illegally reentered into Bangladesh in 1974 and went to hiding. CHowdhury denied this and stated he was out of Bangladesh and added asked how, if he was hiding, he could be elected six times as a member of Parliament. The Prosecution claimed that the witness never claimed to be not guilty during his testimony and that he gave false testimony in order to escape liability. Chowdhury denied this and again asserted that he was not in Bangladesh at the alleged time of the crimes and that he has shown his alibi as his defense.