Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Ashrafuzzaman Khan &Chowdhury Mueen Uddin
In the Abdul Alim case, Tribunal 2 recorded the examination-in-chief and cross-examination of Defense witness 2. Additionally, in the case of Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, who are jointly being tried in absentia, the Tribunal recorded the testimony of Prosecution witness 20. The witness’ testimony supports Charge 7, concerning the abduction and killing of Professor Mofazzal Haider Chowdhury. The testimony also refers to the killing of Professor A.M. Munir Chowdhury, contained within Charge 8.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim
Defense Witness 2: Md. Mozaffar Hossain
The witness stated that he is the son of late Fulmia Mandal of Hanail Bombu, Jaipurhat. He was 16 years old during the War of Independence in the year 1971 and was a student of Class-9. He worked occasionally in his father’s fabrics business. His date of birth as per his voter ID is 20 October 1955. He stated that the family business is not operated by his sons and that he still works there periodically.
The witness then went on to describe his recollection from the war period. He said that towards the end of April 1971, he was returning from the field after checking on their lands when he saw 20-25 armed Pakistan Army members accompanied with 10 to 12 Biharis heading towards his village. The witness was afraid and went on to hide in the local mosque along with other villagers Md Mofazzel Hossain and Altaf Hossain, both of whom are now dead. The witness remained there in the mosque for about an hour. At one point, he saw from the window that the Pakistani Armies and the accompanying Biharis were leaving the village through the North-east side exit. The witness and others in the mosque then returned to their respective houses.
Approximately forty minutes after reaching home, the witness heard gunshots coming from the neighboring village. He went outside and saw smoke coming from the adjacent village of Koroikadipur. He testified that the smoke stopped at around 3 pm or 3:30 pm. Two to three days later, he spoke to some villagers from Koroikadipur. They told the witness that it was the Pakistani Army and Biharis who had come from Jaipurhat who burned their houses and brutally killed people in their villages.
The witness then stated that the situation after that was normal in his village and surrounding villages. The witness used to buy cooking oil from Shahpara marketplace. Towards the end of July or beginning of August, 1971, while he was going to the marketplace, Musa Maolana who was one of the local members requested the witness to get oil for him too. Musa went inside his house to get money for the oil. The witness entered Musa’s house as there was delay and saw a man sitting there. Upon being asked who he was, Musa told the witness that it was Abdul Alim who was hiding in his house in order to save life. Musa also told the witness that Alim used to pray in Jaipurhat’s Masua Bazar Mosque where Maolana Musa was an Imam.
In reply to the Prosecution’s questioning regarding his background, the witness stated that the fabrics business of his father was situated in Jaipurhat town’s Marowari Potti area, also known as Purba Bazar. He stated that he has four sons. The made suggestions regarding the occupation of his sons, in response to which the witness denied that his second son, Enamul, works with Polli Biddut as a line man. He stated it is his fourth son, Babu, who works there as a Meter Reader. Enamul works with the Ifad Group as a line man and the third son Osman is a microbus driver. His eldest son Mostafizur works in a fabrics store. The witness’s father Fulmiah Mandal died in the year 1994. He said that it is not true that his father was affiliated with Alim in 1971 as part of the Convention Muslim League.
The witness clarified that the Bihari men he referred to included Hafiz Bihari, Majid Bihari, Wazed Bihari and Gul Mohammad, amongst others. The witness knew these men. He also stated that he had heard the names of Shamim Bihari and Atiqullah. He further stated that the road in front of the mosque where they were hiding in could be used literally to go anywhere.
The witness further stated that Musa Maolana is no longer living. He strongly denied the Prosecution’s suggestion that he is a Jamaat-e-Islam leader and a supporter of Alim’s group within the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). He stressed that he is not involved in politics and denied that he is alleging the involvement of the Biharis in order to conceal Alim’s involvement in the killings that took place in 1971. The Prosecution also suggested that Musa Maolana is in hiding and that the witness has family ties with Alim and is Alim’s political co-worker.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Khan and Mueen Uddin
Prosecution Witness 20: Dr. Anisuzzaman
The testimony of the witness relates to Charge-7 with some reference to Charge-8.
The witness, Dr. Anisuzzaman, stated that he currently resides in Gulshan, Dhaka. He was a reader at Chittagong University in 1971 in its Bangla Division and was involved in the resistance of 25th March 1971. He stated that he left campus on 1st April and resided in various places in Chittagong. On 25th April 1971, he reached Agortola, India and then reached Calcutta on 15th May. There, the witness formed the “Bangladesh Shikkhok Samity” (Bangladesh Teacher’s Association) and was its General Secretary. He later became a Member of the Planning Commission of the first Government of Bangladesh.
While in Calcutta, the witness learned of the killings of intellectuals that took place on 15th December 1971. The witness stated that he came back to Dhaka on 8th January 1972, and went on to see the families of martyred professors Munir Chowdhury and Mofazzel Haider Chowdhury on 9th January 1971. The wife of Mofazzel, Mrs Syeda Monowara Chowdhury, told the witness that the perpetrators who abducted the victim had their faces covered with cloth. She told him that the masking cloth of one of the perpetrators fell down and the victim exclaimed “Mueen Uddin, You!” The witness then stated that this Mueen was a student of the Bangla department in Dhaka University and had been the witness’ student during a brief period in 1969. The witness said Mueen was also a reporter of the Daily Purbadesh.
The witness testified that Mofazzel’s body was never found. One Delwar Hossain said that Mofazzel was tortured at the Dhaka Physical Training College. The witness stated that there is no doubt that Mofazzel was tortured to death. At this point, the judges at their own instance enquired further into the witness’s statement and asked the witness whether he personally spoke to Delwar about the same. In reply, the witness clarified by saying that he never met with Delwar but came to know about it by seeing an interview video of Delwar.
The witness then stated that the dailies like the Daily Ittefaq, Bangla, Purbadesh had published the photograph of Mueen Uddin in January 1972, identifying him as Al-Badr’s Operation-in-Charge. At that time, a diary was recovered from the house of Ashrafuzzaman Khan and published in the newspapers as Jollad er Diary (Diary of the Executioner). It contained the names of intellectuals who were targeted, abducted and killed by Al-Badr forces on the eve of Bangladesh’s liberation. As per various news reports and documentary evidences, the witness learned that the killing had been planned in August of 1971 and later executed in December. The witness stated that he also learned that Ashrafuzzaman was the Chief Executor of Al-Badr.
Subsequently in 1979, the witness was in London in the India Office Library. While he was reading a book, he saw that Chowdhury Mueen Uddin was entering the library. Upon seeing the witness, Mueen Uddin greeted the witness but then left. When the witness went to the front to look for him he found the name of Mueen Uddin in the visitor’s book, but no address. The name preceding Mueen Uddin’s had the address of the Pakistan High Commission’s Press Attaché. The witness said he suspected the two had come there together. The witness then came back to the upper floor and went on to the table where Mueen Uddin had been reading books. There he found that Mueen Uddin had been going through the Statesman Newspapers’ Microfilm section.
State appointed defense counsel for Ashrafuzzaman Khan, Mr Shukur, asked the witness whether he himself read Jollad er Diary and whether Ashrafuzzaman’s name was in it. The witness replied that he could not remember seeing Asshrafuzzaman’s name in it but stated that the report said it was his. The witness then stated that he previously provided his statement to the Investigation Officer of this case but that he may have failed to mention Ashrafuzzaman’s name by mistake.
State appointed Defense counsel for Mueen Uddin, Ms Salma Hye Tuni, asked further questions. The witness stated that he joined Chittagong University on the 3rd June of 1969. Prior to that, he was a Senior Lecturer of Bangla at Dhaka University. He denied the suggestion that Mueen Uddin was never his student and reiterated that he was in touch with his Dhaka Univeristy colleagues in 1971.
The witness admitted that while in Calcutta he had heard that there were many Dhaka University professors who supported a unified Pakistan and worked against the independence of Bangladesh. He denied the Defense suggestion that the witness never visited the victim’s home after his return to Dhaka on 18th December 1971.
The Defense asked why the witness made no mention about the Accused in his books “Amar ekattur” and “Muktijuddho abong tarpor”. The witness appeared disconcerted at this point and replied that he wrote about the memories and did not go into details about perpetrators. He denied the suggestion that he is lying about going to the Indian Office Library in 1979. The Defense alleged that the witness never came across Mueen Uddin there and stated that the library was in Blackfriars area in London.
The Defense alleged that it was not Mueen Uddin who was involved in the killings of the intellectuals, but rather a group of pro-Pakistan and anti-liberation Dhaka University professors who were responsible. The witness denied this.