Today the Tribunal hear matter in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Mobarak Hossain
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
In the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case, the Prosecution completed cross-examining Defense Witness 3, Qayyum Reza Chowdhury. The Tribunal also heard an application filed by Defense requesting the admission of 55 additional documents. Having heard both sides the Tribunal passed an order. The Defense then verbally requested adjournment and Tribunal set 23 July for examination-in-chief of Defense Witness 4.
In the Moborak Hossain case today was fixed for the cross-examination of Prosecution Witness 6, Abdul Malek, who is to testify in support of charge 5. However, the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until tomorrow, 22 July 2013.
In the Motiur Rahman Nizami case, the Tribunal heard the examination-in-chief of Prosecution witness 14, Abdus Salim Latif, who testified in support of charges 7 and 9. The Tribunal then adjourned the case until tomorrow, 22 July 2013.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Chowdhury
Cross-Examination of DW 3
During the examination-in-chief, Qayyum Reza Chowdhury testified that on 2 March 1971 the cricket match between England and Pakistan stopped in the mid-way due to the suspension of the National Assembly. The Prosecution claimed that on 2 March 1971 the national flag of Bangladesh was waved on the Dhaka University premises for the first time. The witness replied that on that day he was in the Dhaka stadium to watch the match and so he has no information about this. The Prosecution claimed that it was on 1 March 1971 that the President suspended the National Assembly and the cricket match between England and Pakistan was stopped. iThe witness denied the suggestion and claimed that this, saying this happened on2 March not 1 March. Prosecution asked the witness when the witness his father joined the Muslim League. The witness replied that he did not know for sure. The Prosecution claimed that the father of Salauddin Qader Chwdhury, father of Salman Fazlur Rahman (one of the 5 DWs) and the witness’ father were associated with the Pakistani movement and participated together as activists of the same party. The witness replied that he does not know about these activities.
During the examination-in-chief the witness claimed that he had good relation with Sheikh Kamal as they were both good in sports. The Prosecution claimed that this is not true. The witness reasserted his statement. the Prosecution claimed that Fazlul Qader Chowdhury, father of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, was a member of the Ayub Khan’ cabinet and later on he was the Speaker for Pakistan and held the post of acting President in absence of Ayub Khan. Later he held the post of Secretary of Convention Muslim League. The witness replied that he does not know about these detais. The Prosecution claimed that Ayub Khans’ stand was against the 6 point demand of Bangabondhu and self-determination of Bengali national and that Ayub’ Khan condoned the killing and torture of national of Bengalis in favor of the self-determination. The witness admitted that. The Prosecution claimed that to stop the movement of self-determination in the first part of January 1968 the Pakistani government filed the Agortola Conspiracy Case accusing Bangabondhu. The witness replied that he knows that. The Prosecution claimed that when the witness was the student of Dhaka University there were several student organizations such as Chhatra League (student wing of Awami League), Chhatra Union (Motia), Chhatra Union (Menon), Chhatra Shangho (student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami), NSF (Student wing of Convention Muslim League). The witness admitted that. Then, the Prosecution claimed that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury was involved with NSF and the that his father was close to Ayub Khan and that for these reasons the witness’ testimony regarding the participation of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury with the witness in the movement to free Bangabondhu from the Agortola Conspiracy Case is not true. The witness denied the suggestion.
The Prosecution asked the witness about the 11 Point Demand, a which month was issued, and which student organizations signed the declaration of this 11 point demand. The witness replied that he cannot recall. The Prosecution claimed that the witness was lying regarding his and Salauddin Qader Chowdhury’s participation in the movement of 1969. The witness denied this. During the examination-in-chief the witness testified that when Asad was shot he, Salman F Rahman and Salauddin Qader Chowdhury were present nearby a tree and that Nizam was two feet away from Asad and Khairul Bashar was over a riot van. The Prosecution asked the witness with which student organization Asad was involved with. The witness replied that he cannot say but reiterated that he Asad was shot in front of him. The Prosecution claimed that the witness’ testimony regarding the incident was false. The witness denied this and asserted that he had testified truthfully.
The Prosecution then claimed that during his study at Dhaka University Salauddin Qader Chowdhury was not a leader and therefore the witness’ testimony regarding other political leaders visiting Chowdhury’s Dhonmundi residence could not be true. The witness denied that. The Prosecution asked the witness about the constituency of his uncle Fazlul Qader Chowdhury (father of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury) and about which party defeated Fazlul Qader Chowdhury in 1970. The witness replied that he cannot say exactly about the constituency but replied that his uncle was defeated by the Awami League candidate. Thereafter, the Prosecution claimed that the witness was lying about working as a press secretary for Bangabondhu, being present during the speech of Bangabondhu on 7 March, Fazlul Qader Chowdhury’s meeting with Bangabondhu, his visit to Hotel Intercontinental at the night of 25 March 1971, his stay with the Swedish family, Sheikh Kamal’s stay with him, his drive to drop the accused at the airport on 28 March, and Chowdhury’s visit to the house of Salman F Rahman. The witness replied that he testified truthfully.
The Prosecution claimed that since the family members of the witness were involved with the politics of the Muslim League it showed that he had worked as Pakistan apy/ intelligence agent and had sought to destroy the movement. The witness denied this. The Prosecution claimed that because the witness is related to Salauddin Qader Chowdhury he is falsely testifiying on his behalf. The witness replied that he came to tell the truth before the Tribunal. The Prosecution asked the witness whether he knows about the charges brought against the accused Salauddin Qader Chowdhury. The witness replied that he does not know them in detail. Prosecution claimed that the witness gave false testimony to save the accused as cousin. The witness denied the allegation.
The Tribunal also heard an application filed by Chowdhury’s Defense counsel requesting the admission of additional documents. Among the additional documents 43 were affidavits of different persons; 2 books one titled ‘Amar Ekattor’ written by Anisuzzaman and another being the autobiography of Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman titled ‘Ashomapto Attojiboni’; one photo of Fazlul Qader Chowdhury (father of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury) with Natun Chandra Singh (victim of charge 3); a certificate issued by the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Dhaka of Higher Secondary Certificate Examination 1968; a certificate of the Department of Political Science of University of Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan; a photocopy of admission to Dhaka University and an envelope addressed to the petitioner with stamp dated 22 September 1971 which the petitioner received at the address Al-Azam, 7 Wahadat Road, Lahore. In total 55 documents.
The Defense argued that as the Tribunal restricted the Defense to 5 witnesses, these documents are important to prove Salauddin Qader Chowdhury’s alibi as far as where he was during the alleged events. The Prosecution opposed the application on the grounds that there is no provision in the ICT Act or rules to file additional documents in support of Defense in this stage of proceedings. Prosecution further submitted that the affidavits came from outside of Bangladesh. They questioned their admissibility and claimed that the documents did not contain the signature of the consulate section of foreign ministry of Bangladesh and the concerned Embassy of Pakistan. In reply the Defense referred to section 19(1) of the ICT Act 1973 and submitted that the Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence and may admit ‘other materials’ which deems to have probative value. Thereafter, Tribunal passed an order saying that for the ends of justice Tribunal permitted Defense to submit these 55 documents and kept these documents on record.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami
Abdus Salim Latif, Prosecution witness 14, testified in support of Charge 7 and 9. Charge 7 alleges that Nizami was complicit in the torture and murder of Sohrab Ali Pramanik as Crimes Against Humanity specified in section 3(2)(a) and 3(2)(h) of the ICT Act 1973 read with section 4(1) and 4(2) of the Act. Charge 9 alleges that Nizami committed the crime of genocide as he intended to eliminate members of Hindu religious group which is and the crime of persecution as a crime against humanity under section 3(2)(a) and 3(2)(c)(i) read with section 4(1) and section 4(2) of the Act 1973.
Abdus Salim Latif testified that in 1970 he was an Intermediate 1st year student in Bera College. He testified that hearing the speech of Bangabondhu on 7 March 1971, Latif and his classmates formed a voluntary force along with retired Army, EPR and Police and started to take primary training. The witness testified that after the declaration of Independence on 26 March they collected the licensed arms and cartridges to join the liberation war. Latif testified that in May he along with SM Amir Ali, Alauddin, Suja Uddin, Harun-ur-Rashid went to India and after a short training came back with weapons and took part in operations carried out under the leadership of the then MNA Abdul Latif Mirza.
Latif testified that around 15 August, on instruction of Abdul Latif Mirza, he and his cousin Alauddin went to Bera for recce but were caught at the LSD launch (one type of boat) ghat by Razakars and Al-Badrs who were followers of Motiur Rahman Nizami. Latif testified that they (Latif and Alauddin) were sent to the Army and Al-Badr camp and then taken to the Nagarbari Army camp. Latif testified that their hands were tied behind their backs and they were taken to a ferry ghat (docking point) where he saw 9 / 10 other detainees. Latif testified that he saw Nizami there talking with an Army officer. Latif was then taken to an Army Captain and that Captain asked him about the looted rifles of Bera Police Station, about Awami League activists, and about who was involved were involved in the liberation war. Latif denied knowing anything, afterwhich he and Alauddin were brutally tortured for 2 or 3 hours. Latif testified that he still bears the scars of the torture.
Latif further stated that he and his cousin were then separated and after 20 or 30 minutes two Army and two Al-Badr members tied his legs and hands from behind with electric wire and hung sacks of bricks from both sides of his shoulders and him into the Jomuna river. Latif testified that he survived because his body hit another ferry and the sacks of bricks fell off of him allowing him to get back to the surface. Latif testified that his cousin Alauddin also managed to survive but that another detainee called Anish died. Latif testified that after receiving medical treatment for 10 or 15 days he left for India with his father, cousin Alauddin, Harun-ur-Rashid and many more. Latif testified that he then went to Malancho camp, sector 7, in west Dinajpur. After 7 days of special training he returned to Bangladesh with weapons and 22 others. However his father Sohrab Ali Pramanik remained in India with Abu Sayeed.
Latif stated that on 2 December 1971 his father returned to their home. After being informed the local Al-Badr members told Motiur Rahman Nizami about the return of Latif’s father. Latif testified that on 3 December 1971 in the early morning Al-Badr, Razakars and Pakistani Army members jointly raided the Brishalikha village. He testified that the houses of the village were set on fire and his father was dragged out from their house into the road and brutally tortured there on the road. Latif testified that his father was asked about Latif’s whereabouts but that his father did not any information. Therefore his father, Sohrab Ali Pramanik, was shot and killed. Latif testified that he heard about this incident from his mother, Ajgor Ali Munshi, as well as from Ahed Ali Pramanik, Sahjahan Ali and many more. Latif said he also heard that Nizmi ordered Al-Badr, Razakars and the Pakistani Army to torture and kill his father. Latif testified that other than his father, Monu, Josthi Pramanik, Bodu Pramanik, Ganandra Nath Hawlader, and many more unarmed villagers were killed. Latif acknowledged that he was interviewed by the Investigation Officer and identified Nizami in the dock.