11 July 2013: ICT-1 Nizami PW 13 Cross-Examination

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami

In the Nizami case the Defense Counsel concluded the cross-examination of Shamoli Nasrin Chowdhury, Prosecution Witness-13. She testified in support of Charge 16. Thereafter, the Tribunal adjourned the case until 21 July 2013.

Cross-Examination of PW 13
The Defense continued their questioning, asking the witness about the case which was filed earlier regarding the killing of Alim and disposed of by a district court. They noted that Nizami was not an accused in that case. The Defense asked Shamoli who the complainant of that case was. She replied that she does not know. The witness admitted that she heard that all of the accused in that case were acquitted. The Defense asked the witness whether she testified in that case. She replied that she did not. The Defense then asked the witness whether she gave a statement to the Investigation Officer (IO) of that case. The witness replied that she was interviewed by the IO but could not say whether that constituted a statement or not. Then she stated that she wasn’t certain whether the person who interviewed her was the IO or not, but made it clear that the person came from the police station. The Defense claimed that the accused of that case was acquitted while Bangabondhu was President of Bangladesh, and that at that time there was no organization called Jamaat-e-Islami or Islami Chhatra Shangho. The witness admitted that. Defense asked the witness whether there was any appeal against the decision of that case. The witness replied that she did not file any appeal as they she was not a Party in that case. Defense asked the witness whether she searched for the reason behind the acquittal of the accused and whether she knew Zahir Uddin Jalal, one of the witnesses of that case. The witness replied that she did not.

Defense asked the witness whether she saw Moulana Mannan after 15 December 1971. The witness replied that she did not. However, Defense read out from the book titled ‘Ekkatorer Sahid Dr Alim Chowdhury’ and claimed that the witness in her book wrote that on 17 December 1971 they handed Moulana Mannan over to the Ramna Police Station. The witness explained that by using the word ‘we’ she tried to mean the persons of her side. Then, Defense read out from the book and claimed that the witness wrote that on 16 December 1971 Hafiz (her brother-in-law) and Kochi brought Moulana Mannan to her after capturing him from a house located at Azimpur. The Prosecution objected at this point, arguing that the Defense should not be allowed to cross-examine the witness based on the contents of a book which has not been exhibited. The Judges allowed the questions.

The Defense asked the witness whether she knew the names of the Al-Badr members who began guarding the residence after Mannan moved in. The witness replied that she did not. The Defense asked whether she had seen any other Al-Badr members or Razakars or members of Peace Committee personally. The witness replied that she did not but said that she saw photos of members of the Peace Committee in newspapers. The Defense asked the witness whether she knew any one named Dr Oakil Ahmed or had ever talked to him. The witness replied that she did not know him. The Defense again read from the book titled ‘Ekkatorer Sahid Dr Alim Chowdhury’ and claimed that the witness in her book wrote that after her husband was taken she called Dr Oakil Ahmed of Bandi Shibir (Detention Centre) and that Oakil Ahmed told her that Alim was not in CMH, that he had been taken by freedom fighters and warned her not to disclose this information. The witness admitted that she wrote this but said that she did not know him or did not meet him. She did not deny having the conversation.

The Defense then asked the witness about her job, and how she retired. The witness replied that she was forced to go into retirement. She added that the board extended her service but that the new board committee did not approve her extension and she was bound to handover power. The witness added that there were two Dhaka University teachers on the new board committee and that one was nominated by BNP another one nominated by Jamaat. The Defense asked the witness whether there was any teacher in this school who was an activist of Jamaat-e-Islami or Islami Chhatra Shangho. The witness replied that as far she knew there was no such activists.

The Defense asked the witness whether she gave interviews to BTV, ATN, Channeli or other TV channels. The witness said she had. The Defense claimed that in these interviews the witness did not accuse Nizami of being involved in the killing of her husband Alim. The witness claimed that she mentioned the name of Nizami and other high command of Jamaat-e-Islami but that the TV channels always aired the edited version. The Defense asked whether Shomali complained to the authority of these TV channels. She said she did not. The Defense claimed that in her book Shamoli described Mannan as an activist of the Muslim League, candidate of by-poll nominated by the Yahya government, and as Deputy speaker. The witness replied that she collected all of this information from newspapers.

The Defense noted that the day before the witness had stated that she rented the house in Purana Paltan beginning in 1969 but that in her book she wrote that they began living there in November of 1970. The Defense asked the witness whether she accused Nizami in her book for the killing of her husband Alim. The witness replied that if she had mentioned his name in the book at that time, the book would not have been published. The Defense claimed that when the second edition of her book was published the present government was in power. The witness admitted that even in the second edition of her book she did not accuse Nizami for the killing of her husband. She added that she only added some chapters and did not edit the earlier sections that had been in the first ediction.

The Defense claimed that during her initial interview the witness did not tell the Investigation Officer that on 15 December 1971 the Al-Badr men who came to their home said they were acting on orders from Al-Badr high command Motiur Rahman Nizami. The Defense argued that Nizami was not involved with the killing of her husband and that he was not the head of or member of Al-Badr. The witness denied all of these assertions. The Defense asked the witness whether she is against the ideology of Jamaat-e-Islami. Shamoli replied yes. The Defense claimed the witness was giving false testimony accusing Nizami to spread propaganda as a way to counter the ideology of Jamaat. The witness denied this.