Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Pre-Trial Proceedings against Zahid Hossain Khokon
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
On 18 July the Tribunal took cognizance of the charges proposed against Zahid Hossain Khokon and issued a warrant for his arrest. Today the Tribunal passed an order under Rule 31 instructing the relevant authorities to publish notice of the warrant in the Daily Jonokontho and the Daily Star asking Zahid Hossain Khokon to appear before the Tribunal by 14 August 2013.
In the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case the Prosecution made its Closing Arguments for the third consecutive day. The Prosecution presented their arguments on Charges 7, 8, 10, 11, 14 and 17. On 24 July the Tribunal passed an order allotting the 3 days to the Prosecution for their Closing Arguments, with an additional day allotted for the Prosecution’s reply to the Defense’s Closing Arguments. However the Prosecution had not completed their submissions by the end of today’s session and requested two additional days. The Tribunal granted them only one additional day, asking that they complete their presentation by tomorrow, 31 July 2013.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
Under Charge 7 the Prosecution alleged that on 14 April 1971 at about 12 pm Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, along with the Pakistani Army, visited Satish Chandra Palit’s house. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury told the Army personnel that Palit was a dangerous man and should be killed. Hearing this the Pakistani Army asked Palit to go inside the house. When he turned to enter the house they shot him to death and burned the house along with the dead body. The Charge states that afterward Palit’s family members fled as refugees to India out of fear for their lives. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury is accused of complicity in the murder of Satish and of burning his house and dead body as Crimes Against Humanity under section 3(2)(a) and 3(2)(h) of the ICT Act 1973.
In support of this charge, Prosecution relied on the testimony of Poritosh Kumar Palit, Prosecution witness 28, son of victim Satish Chandra Palit. Poritosh testified that in 1971 his father’s profession was to write General Diaries and Complaints for the police. He said that around 10 April his father decided that the family should find a safer location and therefore the witness and the rest of the family took shelter in the house of Khetro Mohon Biswash, 3 to 4 miles away from their house. His father remained at their house.
Poritosh testified that on 13 April 1971 upon hearing of the death of the Principal of Kundashori, Notun Chandra Singh, he went to visit his father. He testified that he tried to persuade his father to leave the house but that his father refused to leave and told him to keep the family safe. The witness testified that after that he saw Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and the Pakistani Army coming towards their house. He hid himself in a bush near the house. He testified that he saw Salauddin Qader Chowdhury standing under a tree at the bank of their pond and soldiers in their yard and engaging in an altercation with his father. At one stage of the altercation he alleged that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury shouted to the soldiers saying ‘that person is dangerous, kill him.’ Hearing this the soldiers told his father to go to his house. When his father turned for the house the soldiers shot him two times from the back. He said that when his father fell the soldiers brought a thin Katha blanket and covered his father’s body. They then put some chemical powder on the blanket and set the body on fire. After the soldiers left he said that he also left, going to his relatives’ house to inform his family members about his father’s death. He testified that later on they left the country for India because they were afraid for their safety.
The Prosecution argued that during the cross-examination the witness testified that the soldiers did not go any other house in the neighborhood, showing that the house of Satish Chandra Palit was specifically targeted. Prosecution submitted that the Prosecution also asserted that their case was confirmed by the cross-examination of the witness by the Defense.
Under Charge 8 the Prosecution alleges that on 17 April 1971 at about 11 am the founder of Chittagong Awami League Sheikh Mozaffar Ahmed along with his family members were on their way from Rowzan to Chittagong. They had just reached Khagrachory, Rangamati and were at an intersection of 3 roads when, led by Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, the Pakistani Army surrounded their private car. They then made Sheikh Mozaffar Ahmed and his son Sheikh Alamgir get out of the car and took them to the nearby army camp. When their relatives went to Salauddin Qader Chowdhury’s father, Fazlul Qader Chowdhury, and requested that he intervene and secure the release of two men Fazlul Qader Chowdhury replied that he would look into the matter but that it was solely up to Salauddin Qader Chowdhury. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury is charged with complicity in abduction and murder as Crimes Against Humanity under section 3(2)(a) and 3(2)(h) of the ICT Act 1973.
In support of this charge the Prosecution relied on the testimonies of Prosecution witness 17, 20, 11 and 3. Among them Prosecution witness 17, who is the wife of victim Sheikh Alamgir, gave testimony in-camera claiming that she was with her husband in car when he was abducted. The Prosecution submitted that her mother and brother Haider, who was an activist for the Muslim League, went to Goods Hill to ask for the release of her father-in-law and her husband. She corroborated the Prosecution’s version of events, stating that Fazlul Qader Chowdhury said that he would discuss the matter with Salauddin Qader Chowdhury because it was in his hands. The Prosecution submitted that this testimony shows that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury was de facto leader whereas Fazlul Qader Chowdhury was the de jure leader.
Prosecution witness 20, Sheikh Morshed Anwar, is the son of victim Sheikh Mozaffar and brother of victim Sheikh Alamgir. He is also the second husband of Prosecution witness 17 and provided hearsay evidence. He testified that on 25 March 1971 his father Sheikh Mozzafor gave a speech in Laldighi supporting the independence movement and that therefore he was targeted by the Pakistan Army and their collaborators. Morshed testified that on 1 April 1971 his father Sheikh Mozaffar Ahmed, his brother Sheikh Alamgir, Alamgir’s wife Umme Habiba Sultana (Prosecution witness 17) and others took shelter in Raozan whil he and his brother Khurshid took shelter at their farm villa. Shortly after his cousin and uncle Ali informed him that the Pakistani Army had abducted his father and brother at Hathazari intersection while they were returning from Raozan. He said that he heard from his cousin and uncle that Alamgir’s wife Umme Habiba Sultana and aunt Momtaz Begum were also in the car with his father and brother at the time of the abduction. He stated that he had heard that after checking the vehicle the Pakistani Army was going to let them go but that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury and his associates arrived and took Anwar’s father and brother out of the car and took them to the nearby Army camp. Momtaz Begum asked Salauddin Qader Chowdhury where they were being taken. In reply he allegedly answered that they would be asked some questions and then would be freed.
Anwar testified that Fazlul Huq, the brother of Umme Habiba (Alamgir’s wife), went to the army camp to look for the father and brother. There he found out that Alamgir and Mozaffar had been arrested. Fazlul Huq said that he saw that Alamgir and Mozaffar’s hands were tied behind them. Anwar said that he returned to the family home in Rahmatganj and went back to his work in a bakery show-room in Still Mill. He said that he told a retired Panjabi Major about the incident and that the major went and searched inside the camp for his brother and father. The major informed Anwar that his father and brother were not found there. Anwar further said that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury’s father, Fazlul Qader Chowdhury, was a relative of Alamgir’s mother-in-law and that she and her son Haider went to ‘Goods Hill’ to try to find out what had happened to Alamgir and Mozaffar. Morshed testified that Fazlul Qader Chowdhury told her that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury was in charge of the matter and that he would ask him about it. After a couple of days Fazlul Qader Chowdhury told her that they searched for Mozaffar and Alamgir but did not receive any information about them and that they might have been killed. Anwar alleged that the Pakistani Army would not have been able to kill his father and brother if Salauddin Qader Chowdhury had not pointed them out. Prosecution submitted that the testimony of Prosecution witness 20, Sheikh Morshed Anwar, also collaborates the testimony of Prosecution witness 17.
Mahbubul Alam, Prosecution witness 11, testified that he was a freedom fighter and took part in various operations in Chittagong. Mahbubul testified that while he was in a shelter at Pathorghata he was informed that the Pakistani Army and collaborators were committing killings, rapes, arson, and looting in Chittagong and the adjacent areas. Mahbubul testified that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury led those Bengalis who supported the Pakistani Army and helped them to commit such crimes. Mahbubul testified that a one of Mozzafor’s sons told him that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury pointed out Mozzafor and Alamgir and that because of that the Pakistani Army abducted them. Prosecution witness 3, Sirajul Islam alias Siru Bengali, testified that he heard from Captain Karim that in the middle of April Salauddin Qader Chowdhuy along with his associates abducted Awami League leader Sheikh Mozzafor Ahmed and his son Sheikh Alamgir, took them in an unknown place, killed them and disappeared their corpses. The Prosecution also relied on Exhibit 2/2 -2/6, news reports published in the daily Azadi in 1999 and 1998.
Under Charge 10 the Prosecution alleges that after 13 April 1971 Salauddin Qader Chowdhury and the Pakistani Army went to the house of Manik Dhar where they stole a jeep and rice machine and set fire to the house of local chairman Shadon Dhar. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury is accused of persecution as a Crime Against Humanity under Section 3(2)(a) of the Act.
In support of this charge Prosecution witness 9, Manik Dhar’s son Porag Dhar, testified that during the Liberation War he was 7 years old. He stated that inn the second week of April Fazlul Qader Chowdhury was the secretary of Muslim League. After hearing about the atrocities of Jogothmollo Para, Moddhay Gohira, Sultanpur and Kundeshori, Porag and his family went to India and only returned in the last part of December after the country was liberated. Porag testified that after returning from India they found that the his father’s jeep and rice machine had been stolen and their house looted by Razakars and Al-Badrs. Porag testified that he heard that the looting was led by Fazlul Qader Chowdhury. The witness stated that a case was filed by his father regarding the alleged looting but he did not know who the accused was in the case. The Prosecution this witness was re-examination in-camera where he changed his testimony and asserted that the looting was led by Salauddin Qader Chowdhury. The witness said he did not name Salauddin in his first round of courtroom testimony because his younger sister Mousumi is married to Javed who is the son of Zohirul Huq, who is also the father of Defense Counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena and therefore he was afraid for her. The Prosecution also relied on Exhibit 32/1, a certified copy of a GR Register, in which Salauddin Qader Chowdhury is one of the three accused. The Prosecution alsorelied on Exhibit 60, a map of the place of occurrence.
In Charge 11 the Prosecution alleged that on 20 April 1971 the Pakistani Army and Razakars, acting on the directions of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury and Fazlul Qader Chowdhury, jointly attacked Shakpura village. Shakpura is a Hindu populated area. Allegedly the attackers indiscriminately fired and used bayonets in order to kill the Hindus and those opposing Pakistan. Allegedly 76 named persons and many others who took shelter in the nearby jungle and paddy field were killed. The charge also alleged that as a result of the attack the survivors of the village fled to India and other places as refugees. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury is charged with killing the members of political and religious groups as genocide under section 3(2)(c) (i) and deportation as a Crime Against Humanity under section 3(2) (a) of the ICT Act 1973.
In support of this charge the Prosecution relied on the testimonies of Prosecution witness 23 and 24 and Exhibit 62, the map of the place of occurrence. Babul Chakraborty, Prosecution witness 24 ,is the son of victim Manmohan Chakrabarty. Babul testified that between April and 14 December 1971 the Pakistani Army committed genocide in his area with the help of Muslim League leader Fazlul Quader Chowdhury, his son Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, and the Razakars. Babul testified that in the morning of 20April 1971 the genocide began his area. On that day Salauddin Quader Chowdhury with the help of Pakistani Army allegedly shot and killed 52 people who were trying to hide themselves in the bushes and paddy field near the Shakpura Primary School. Babul testified that his father Manmohan Chakrabarty was killed that day after they dragged him out of the house. Additionally he said that Bimu Chowdhury, Gorango Chowdhury, Dibesh Chowdhury, Dhinandra Lal Chowdhury, Monmohon Chakrabarty, Babu Sukendra Bikash Nath, Dr Modhushudon Chowdhury, Krishno Chowdhury, Nikunjo Chowdhury, Orbindo Roy, Dhononjoy Chowdhury and many more were killed. He claimed that the bodies of those killed were buried in a mass grave without any rituals. He said that during the course of the war about 300-350 people were killed in his area. He testified that there is a monument near the Shakpura Primary School where the name of 76 persons was written. Prosecution argued that that during cross-examination the Defense could not shake the credibility of the witness and the whole incident remains undisputed.
Bano Gopal Das, Prosecution witness 23, provided hearsay testimony. Bano testified that with the help of Muslim League supporters and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, the Pakistani Army between 300 and 350 persons in Shakpura and Kadurkhil. Bano said that after the incident most of the people in the area went to India. He said that he heard about the incidents in Kadurkhil and Shakpura area from arrested Razakars. The Prosecution asserted that the incidents are described on pages 344-345 and 348-349 of the book ‘Muktijuddher Dalil Potro’ Vol-8,. The Prosecution argued that the Tribunal should take those pages under judicial notice.
Under Charge 12 the Prosecution alleges that on 5 May 1971 at about 10:30 to 11:00 am, Salauddin Qader Chowdhury led the Pakistani Army to Jagot Mollo Para and in his presence open fired, killing Bijoy Krishna Chowdhury, Bevotibushion Chowdhury and Harandra Lal Chowdhury. It was alleged that this was done with intent to destroy in whole or in part members of Hindu religious group which is described as genocide under section 3(2)(c)(i) of the ICT Act 1973.
The Prosecution referred to the supporting testimony of Prosecution witness 13, Asish Chowdhury. Asish testified that he is now 49 years old and was between 8 and 10 years old in 1971. Asish testified that after returning from India he heard that a month after the incident of 13 April 1971 the followers of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury abducted Bijoy Krishna Chowdhury, Bevotibushion Chowdhury and Harandra Lal Chowdhury at the bank of Debua canal.
Under Charge 14 the Prosecution alleged that on 20 May 1971 at about 4 pm Salauddin Qader Chowdhury along with his accomplice Razakar members and the Pakistani Army went to the house of Md Hanif, a supporter of Awami League. They then abducted Hanif and took him to Goods Hill. His wife and others allegedly tried to get Hanif released with the assistance of Nazma Khatun. Nazma informed Hanif’s wife that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury demanded TK 1,000 for the release of Hanif. When Nazma informed Salauddin Qader Chowdhury that this amount could not be paid, Hanif was tortured. Hanif never returned and was presumed to have been killed. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury is charged with abduction, confinement, torture and murder as Crimes Against Humanity under section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act 1973.
In support of this charge the Prosecution referred to the testimony of Prosecution witness 30, Nizam Uddin. Md Nazim Uddin testified that in 1971 he was a student of class 8. His aunt, Nur Begum was married to Hanif. Nizam Uddin testified that after the beginning of the Liberation War his uncle Hanif came to their house along with his wife (Nazim’s aunt) and one day (did not specify the date) went back to his (Hanif’s) house. He testified that on 20 May 1971 his family found out that his uncle had been taken by the Pakistani Army. After getting this news on the following day Nazim Uddin along with his maternal grandfather Abdul Kuddus and uncle Abdul Karim went to Hanif’s house to bring back his aunt. He testified that while there they learned that Razakars Foez Ahmed, Munshi Miah and the Pakistani army were the ones who abducted his uncle Hanif. He stated that he also found out that when his father was taken by the Razakars and the Pakistani Army Salauddin Qader Chowdhury had been with them in the motor vehicle. He testified that Hanif’s father Shona Miah Shawdagor sent Nazma Begum to the ‘Goods Hill’ to ask that their son be released. He said that the captors refused to release Hanif but that Nazma Begum saw that Hanif was being tortured (he did not specify by whom). He testified that his uncle Hanif never returned.
UnderCharge 17 the Prosecution alleged that on 5 July 1971 at about 7 or 7:30 pm, Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, 2 or 3 of his accomplices, and members of the Pakistani Army abducted Nizam Uddin Ahmed, Shiraj, and Wahid alias Junu Pagla from the house of Jahangir Alam Chowdhury and took them to Goods Hill. The charge further alleged that Goods Hill was used as a torture center under the control of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury. The abducted men were taken to the drawing room of Goods Hill where Fazlul Qader Chowdhury was sitting. At his direction Salauddin Qader Chowdhury and his accomplices beat the abducted men with a rubber clotted cane and tortured them for 2 to 3 hours. It was alleged that then they were taken to the garage of the house where they were tortured and interrogated and then taken to Chittagong stadium. It was alleged that Wahid alias Junu was released while Nizam Uddin and Shiraj were kept at the cantonment until independence. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury is accused of abduction, confinement, and torture as Crimes Against Humanity under section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act of 1973.
In support of this charge, Prosecution relied on the testimony of Prosecution witnesses 15 and 19, both alleged victims. Nizam Uddin Ahmed, Prosecution witness 15, testified that he is a journalist and that he, Sayed Wahidul Alam, and Siddik formed a group of freedom fighters and set up their camp in Hajaree Lane. Nizam testified that on 5 July 1971 they separated from their trainer Siddik. In the evening of that day they heard the sound of a motor vehicle in front of their place at Hajaree Lane and then heard people shouting “hands up.” Nizam testified that among the men who came to the house some were wearing khaki colored uniforms and three or four were wearing plain clothes.
Nizam testified that their hands were tied from behind and they were taken to Goods Hill by two jeeps. When the jeeps reached Goods Hill Nizam saw 15 or 20 people on the lawn of the house. He was taken to the drawing room of Goods Hill where he saw Fazlul Qader Chowdhury and 10 or 15 people others who seemed to be leaders of some sort. Nizam testified that Fazlul Qader Chowdhury punched him and asked his followers to beat him by using the words ‘banao.’ Nizam testified that then the three of them were separated from each other and that he was beaten by rubber clotted cane and tortured in a room for 2 or 3 hours. He said that night they tortured him again from 7:30 until midnight by some people wearing plain clothes. From the conversations of those torturing him he gathered that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury was among those who abducted him.
At about 12 am Nizam was taken to the garage where he saw his two friends. He testified that his hands were ties from behind in such a way that he could not sit. He testified that the next morning he was given a paratha and a cup of tea by the Pakistani Army. The evening of the next day again he was interrogated and tortured by persons in plain clothes and then taken to the Army camp. He testified that again he was interrogated and tortured there and that Sayed Wahidul was released. On 13 July he and Siraj were taken to the cantonment where they continued to be tortured. He and Siraj were then taken to a jail where they were detained until 18 November 1971.
The Prosecution additionally relied on the testimony of Wahidul Alam Junu, Prosecution witness 19, who testified in support of the charge. He stated that he received Guerilla training from freedom fighter Siddik at Hajaree Lane. He said that Sirajul Islam and Nizam Uddin Ahmed also received training there. He testified that they monitored the movements of the Pakistani Army. On 5 July 1971 he, Nizam, and Sirazul Islam separated from their trainer Siddik. In the evening of that day at about 7:30 the Pakistani Army and some local Bengali people came to their place at Hajaree Lane. Junu said they tied their hands behind their backs and blindfolded them. They searched the place and then took them to Goods Hill in a red jeep. Junu said that they were taken to the drawing room where Fozlul Qader Chowdhury was sitting. Junu said that he was beaten by the men who had abducted them. He also testified that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury and his younger brother stood behind the sofa while they were beaten. Due to the beating he lost one of his teeth and experienced severe pain and bleeding.
After a while Fazlul Quader Chowdhury left the drawing room and the men who had abducted them took Sirazul Islam and Nizam Uddin Ahmed to another room inside the house and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury followed them. Junu stayed in the drawing room from where he he heard the screaming of Sirazul Islam and Nizam Uddin Ahmed.
Junu testified that after a while members of the Pakistani Intelligence Group came dressed in plain clothes and interrogated and tortured them until about 12 of 1 am. After that they were taken to the garage where they were suspended so that they could not sit. At about 7 or 7:30 they were handed over to the Pakistani Army who took them to the Chittagong Stadium by a motor vehicle. Junu said they were detained in the Chittagong Stadium until 13 July 1971 and were again tortured. During interrogations on Major of the Belush regimen asked his name and address. Hearing his name the Major became agitated and asked if he was part of the Syed family. Junu replied that his ancestors were Arab. The Major then separated him from other detainees, who were sent to the cantonment. He was given a cup of tea and allowed to leave the place.
Junu went to his village home and after some days heard that Shirazul Islam and Nizam had been sent to jail after being tortured at the Chittagong Cantonment. Junu said after staying Fatiksori 20 or 25 days he returned to Chittagong and rejoined the freedom fighters. He said his duty was to monitor the movement of the Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams. He learned from friends and other fighters that Fazlul Qader Chowdhury’s house was used as a camp by the Al-Shams and Al-Badr under the leadership of Khoka, Jahangir, Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, and Syed Oahidul Alam. He testified that members of the Al-Shams and Al-Badr committed atrocities, including looting and killing in the Hindu area of Nondon Kanon.
The Prosecution argued that the testimony of Nizam Uddin Ahmed, Prosecution witness 15, was collaborated by the testimony of Wahidul Alam Junu, Prosecution witness 19. They further argued that this testimony showed that Goods Hill was used as torture cell.