Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim
Tribunal 2 recorded the testimony of Prosecution witness 14 in the case against Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, both of whom are being tried in absentia. Both the examination-in-chief and cross-examination of the witness was completed. The testimony of PW-14 does not support any specific charge but relates to the identity and background of Chowdhury Mueen Uddin who currently lives in the United Kingdom.
In the case against Abdul Alim the Defense resumed its cross-examination of the Investigation Officer and asked questions pertaining to the investigation procedure and authenticity of documentary evidence.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Mueen Uddin and Khan
The witness stated that during the War of Independence in 1971 he was trained as a freedom fighter in Assam, India. He stated that he fought in Sector-2 under Sub-Sector Commander Lieutenant General Zafar Imam.
The witness said that Feni was liberated from Pakistani forces on 6th of December 1971. Soon after he learned from various newspaper reports that the accused Chowdhury Mueen Uddin was a leader of Al-Badr and was involved in the killing of many intellectuals including journalist Shahidullah Kaesar.
The witness then provided background details regarding Chowdhury Mueen Uddin. He stated that the he previously knew the Accused as their houses were in the same union, in neighboring villages only 4 Kilometers apart from each other. He testified that Mueen’s father had a book stall in Dagon Bhuiyan village and that Mueen used to run the shop occasionally. Later Mueen Uddin matriculated at Dhaka University and subsequently worked for the Daily Purbadesh.
The witness testified that he heard that it Mueen Uddin was responsible for the formation of Rajakar forces in Feni. He stated that currently Mueen Uddin runs a global charity organization called Muslim Aid and that a number of madrasa (Islamic studies institutions) and mosques have been developed using its fund. The witness said that after the war Mueen Uddin visited his village in Feni on several occasions during the tenure of President Ziaur Rahman and President HM Ershad’s governments under police protection. The witness claimed to have seen the Accused during such a visit. On one occasion, Mueen Uddin went to take part in the congregational Eid prayer in Fajilerghat Bazar, Feni. However, the local freedom fighters did not allow Mueen Uddin to participate and chased him off. Soon after he left the country to go abroad.
The counsel for Ashrafuzzaman Khan chose not to cross-examine the witness as his statements were not regarding the second Defendant.
The Defense asked the witness about his schooling. The witness replied that he completed his Secondary School Certificate examinations in 1969 and was admitted to Feni College. He identified fellow students Atiqullah Chowdhury, Mian, Abu Naser as being members of Islami Chatra Shangha (ICS). The witness stated that Abu Naser was a Razakar who was killed in a mass beating. The witness also claimed that Mueen worked at his father’s book stall between 1966 and 1967 and that he conducted ICS meetings there.
The Defense suggested that Abu Naser was not in any way affiliated with Mueen Uddin and that Mueen Uddin was not a member of ICS let alone a leader of its meetings. The Defense also claimed that Mueen Uddin did not flee from Bangladesh but rather migrated fter receiving permission from the designated government authorities. The witness rejected these suggestions and claimed that Mueen Uddin fled with the assistance of his uncle who worked for the Bangladesh Air Force.
The Defense finally suggested that the witness provided false testimony because of his political differences and claimed that the allegations against Mueed Uddin were based solely on conjecture.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim
Cross-Examination of Investigation Officer, PW 35
The Defense continued its cross-examination of the Investigation Officer, Prosecution witness 35. They asked numerous questions regarding the technical matters of the investigation procedure.
The Defense drew the Investigation Officer’s attention to Exhibit 25, page 3029 of volume 11, which contains a heading mentioning the date 11 May 1971. The Investigation Officer acknowledged that the date printed on the top as a heading was computer composed by the investigation office and mistakenly dated. He stated that it was the mistake of the computer operator Mr Zulfiqar of his office.
The Investigation Officer acknowledged that one of the witnesses he interviewed, Akamuddin, died before the submission of the Investigation Report. However, he denied that he knew about the witness’ death prior to submitting the report and further denied the suggestion that he fabricated the witness’ statement in a purposeful way. The Investigation Officer testified that he recorded statements from a total of 54 witnesses.
The Investigation Officer said that in 1970 war he was aware of the participation of candidates in the 1970 National Union election in Bogura-1 area. He acknowledged that Alim was the Convention Muslim League leader and Mofiz Uddin Chowdhury was a Awami League leader. He said that he did not remember any other candidates.
The Investigation Officer stated that many people fled to India looking for safety during the war. He stated that he does not have Refugee Cards recording this migration. He claimed that 23 cases were filed in Jaipurhat regarding crimes committed in 1971, including two against Abdul Alim. He said he does not know whether the peace committee in Jaipurhat was under the direct control of the Central Peace committee.
Finally, in response to the defense questioning the Investigation Officer acknowledged that he had no documentary evidence of the number of peace committee members in Bogura district and did not collect any list of alleged Peace Committee members or interview any freedom fighters in the area.
The proceedings for the day were then adjourned as the Defense counsel claimed they needed additional time to prepare before continuing. The cross-examination was scheduled to resume tomorrow.