Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim
The Tribunal recorded the testimony of Prosecution witness 7 in the case against Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, both of whom are being tried in absentia. Next it heard the cross-examination of the Investigation Officer, Prosecution witness 35, in the Alim case.
The Tribunal then adjourned for the day after deferring the scheduled order on Syed Mohammad Qaisar’s bail application as the jail authorities failed to submit their report on the health condition of the suspect who is now in its custody.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Khan and Mueen Uddin
Dr. Syed Anwar Murtoza Nazmul, Prosecution witness 7, testified in support of Charge 2 against Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin.
The witness stated that he was only five years old during the independence war in 1971. His mother and paternal uncle, Syed Sazzadul Haque, told him about his father’s abduction. The witness stated that his father Syed Nazmul Haque was the editor of a newspaper named Vista, which was a publication by journalists at Dhaka University. He also used to write for other newspapers including The Dawn and the Pakistan Observer, among others. The victim planned to join the Civil Service of Pakistan in the year 1967 but was not appointed by reason of a case pending against him for partaking in the movement against the Education Commission in 1962. In 1969 He accompanied Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as his personal secretary on his tour of Europe. The witness testified that his father received his Diploma in Journalism a year later in 1970 from Dhaka University. In 1971, the victim Nazmul was acting as the Chief Reporter of PPI (Pakistan Press International) and was taken to West Pakistan on two occasions in order to testify against Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman following his arrest on 25 March 1971. The witness stated that his father refused to give such false testimony despite being tortured.
The witness testified that at around 4 a.m. on 11December, 1971, six or seven Al-Badr members came to their Paltan residence looking for his father. The witness said he under the staircase. The Al-Badr members wore masks to conceal their faces. After confirming the identity of Nazmul, they took him away at gunpoint in a jeep. He never returned.
The witness stated that many other teachers of Dhaka University including Professor Anwar Pasha, Giasuddin Ahmed, and Prof Mofazzal Haider Chowdhury were abducted in similar fashion along with Doctor Fazle Rabbi, Alim Chowdhury and few others. The witness testified that his continued to search for Nazmul’s body after 16 December 1971 in various locations including Rayerbazar and Mirpur mass graves, but never found him.
The witness said that after independence his paternal uncles learned from newspapers that Jamaat leaders Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan were directly involved in the killing of his father. The photographs of these two men were also published in various newspapers.
State appointed Defense counsel conducted the cross-examination of the witness. They suggested that the men who came to the house of the victim to abduct him were members of Pakistani Army and that the two accused were not involved in the abduction or killing. The witness denied the suggestion.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim
Mr. ZM Altafur Rahman, the Investigation Officer in this case and Prosecution witness 35, was cross-examined by the Defense. At the beginning of the cross-examination, Mr Ahsanul Haque Hena, Defense counsel for Alim asked the Investigation Officer the details of his services with the investigation agency. The Defense asked how the investigation was initiated. The witness replied that he began the investigation of the of Abdul Alim after receiving an order from the chief of the investigation agency on 6 March 2011. He clarified that it was a verbal order. The investigation was concluded on 15 January 2012.
The witness admitted that he did not thoroughly investigate the political activities of the accused at the material time, or his political background. The Defense then asked what steps the witness took to ascertain historical aspects of the case.
The Defense aimed to point out procedural flaws in the investigation process and to bring into question the reliability of the Investigation Officer’s findings. The proceeding for the day were then adjourned. The cross-examination will resume tomorrow.