Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Investigation of Abdus Sobhan
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
Today in the pre-trial proceedings against Abdus Sobhan the Tribunal was scheduled to receive either a progress report of the investigation of the Prosecution’s proposed Formal Charge against the suspect. The Prosecution submitted a progress report. They also filed an application requesting permission to interrogate the suspect in the safe home. The Tribunal set 22 August 2013 for arguments on this application.
In the case of Motiur Rahman Nizami, the Tribunal recorded the testimony of Md Jane Alam, alias Janu, Prosecution witness 16. He testified in support of Charge no 7. The Defense conducted its cross-examination. The Tribunal then adjourned the proceedings of the case until 25 August 2013.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
Md Jane Alam, alias Janu, gave testimony in support of Charge 7. Charge 7 alleges that Nizami was complicit in the torture and murder of Sohrab Ali as crimes against humanity specified in section 3(2)(a) and 3(2)(h) of the ICT Act 1973. He charged under both sections 4(1) and 4(2) of the ICT Act 1973, providing for joint criminal enterprise liability and liability under command responsibility.
The witness testified that in 1971 he was a student of class ten. He was trained as a freedom fighter and fought against the Pakistani Army on 19 April 1971 at Dabbagan. When they lost they fled from Dabbagan. The witness stated that after a couple of days they left for India, coming back in the middle of August. When they returned to Bangladesh in August they took possession of Sahajani Chor, Tangail. Janu testified that his group established its camp at Dugli village of Sahjadpur. On 2 December 1971 at about 10 pm Sohrab came to the camp and offered to go with Janu to visit their home village. Janu testified that they went that night to their village and met with the people there. At about 1 or 1:30 am he went to his house and slept there. Janu testified that the next night, 3 December 1971, when his parents went outside to feed their cattle they noticed Razakars, Al-Badr and Pakistani Army forces on the road. Janu’s father told Janu to flee. The witness testified that he left the bed and reached his camp by crossing Hurasagor river. In the early morning many people from his village were also crossing the river trying to escape the armed forces. Janu testified that the next day at 12 or 12:30 pm after the Razakars and Pakistani Army left his village he and others returned and heard that Sohrab had been bayonetted and shot to death. He testified that Sohrab, Josthi, Vadu, Monu, Profulla, Pintu and many more were killed and 70 -72 houses were set on fire. He testified that noticing villagers gathered in front of the primary school and informed that Motiur Rahman Nizami, the secretary of Islami Chhatra Shangho, local Razakars, Al-Badr, and the Pakistani Army led by Rofikunnabi alias Bablu, had carried out the killings, arson attacks and looting in their village. He acknowledged that he was an interviewed previously by the Investigation Officer. The Prosecution asked Janu whether Nizami was present in the Tribunal. Janu replied that he is not present. Then, the Prosecution asked the witness to walk through the Tribunal to check whether Nizami was present. Janu went towards dock and replied that Nizami was present at the dock.
During the examination-in-chief, Jane Alam alias Janu testified that he participated in a fight against the Pakistani Army on 19 April 1971 at Dabbagan. The Defense asked the witness how far Dabbagan was from his village. They also asked how long he stayed in Sahahani Chor after coming back to Bangladesh. The witness replied that they were there 3 or 4 days. The Defense asked who he was with at Sahajani Chor and about Abdus Salim Latif, son of victim Sohrab Ali. The witness replied that Latif was with him at Sahajani Chor. Defense asked the witness about freedom fighter list of Muktizuddha Gazette. The witness replied that he had seen the list and his serial number is 1383. Defense asked the witness about serial no 1381 of the list. The witness replied that the serial no 1381 is the name of Mofakkarul Islam and stated that they are both from the same village. Defense then asked if serial no 1382 is Abdus Selim Latif, to which the witness replied “maybe.” The Defense claimed that the list also mentioned the witness’ father’s name, prefaced by the word ‘late’, indicating that he is deceased. The witness admitted that. The Defense asked if it is true that there is no word like ‘late’ or ‘martyr’ before the name of Abdus Selim Latif’s father. The witness replied that he does not know.
During examination-in-chief, the witness testified that the villagers told him that Motiur Rahman Nizami had ordered Islami Chhatra Shangho, local Razakars, Al-Badr and the Pakistani Army to commit killings, arson attacks and looting in the village on the day in question. The Defense asked the witness about the identity of the secretary and president of different student organizations such as the Chhatra Union, National Student Federation, Chhatra League of 1970 and 1971. The witness replied that he does not know who served in these positions. The Defense then asked the witness who specifically told him that Motiur Rahman Nizami was the secretary of Islami Chhatra Shangho. The witness replied that after 40 years he cannot recall. The Defense asked who was present when Nizami ordered Rofikunnabi (leader of the Razakars) to commit the alleged killings, looting and arson attacks. The witness replied that he does not know. Defense asked the witness whether he took any initiative to determine who was present and heard the order of Nizami. The witness replied ‘no’.
Defense asked the witness whether he heard about the arrest of anyone regarding the killing of Sohrab Ali after Pabna was liberated . The witness replied that he does not know. The Defense then asked who the chairman and members of the Peace Committee of his union were. The witness replied that he did not know about them and did not even see them. Defense asked the witness after the country was liberated whether any Razakar or Al-Badr of Bera Union were arrested or not. The witness replied that he does not know. Defense asked the witness whether he knew anyone who witnessed the killing of Sohrab Ali. The witness replied no. Defense claimed that Sohrab Ali died after the liberation war. The witness denied that.
The Defense then claimed that the witness in his initial interview with the Investigation Officer did not make the same allegations as he did before the Tribunal and that therefore he was fabricating his testimony. The witness denied the allegation. The Defense claimed that the witness was able to identify Nizami only because he was the sole person in the dock and because the witness would have seen him during the last two elections. The witness admitted that. The witness testified that the first time he heard Nizami’s name referenced was on 3 December 1971. The Defense concluded their cross-examination by noting that the witness admitted to being an Awami League activist. They claimed that he provided false testimony because of his political affiliations. The witness denied this.