Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
In the case of Motiur Rahman Nizami the Defense conducted the cross-examination of Abu Sama Fakir, Prosecution witness 19, who testified in support of charge 4. The Tribunal then recorded the testimony of Tohurul Alam Mollah, Prosecution witness 20, who testified in support of charge 5. The Tribunal then adjourned the proceedings of the case until tomorrow, 9 September 2013.
In the case of ATM Azharul Islam today was scheduled for the Defense’s submissions on the framing of charges. However, the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until 18 September 2013.
Prosecution Witness 19
The Defense asked the witness several questions regarding his familiarity with the Awami League, Muslim League and Jamat-e-Islami as well as with their candidates in the 1970 election. The Defense asked the witness whether he attended any meetings except those of the Awami League. The witness replied he did not. The Defense asked the witness whether he knew Nazim Uddin Khattab, Prosecution witness 5. The witness replied that he had known Nazim Uddin Khattab since before the liberation war. The Defense asked the about when the Pakistani Army came to his area. The witness replied they came to Bera after 15 April, 1971 from Pabna and then came to Sathia. The Defense asked the witness whether there was any army camps at Sathia in 1971. The witness replied that there were army camps at Nogorbari and Baghabari.
During the examination-in-chief, the witness testified that on 28 April 1971 he met with Nazrul, Ansar Shokur Ali and Joinal, who is from Bera Bonogram, and discussed UPR. When he was returning by way of the east side of Karamja Nishipara Kalibari at 9 or 10 am he saw a Army motor vehicle coming from east side towards Sathia. The witness testified that he hid himself in a bush beside the Sathia road. From the bush he claimed he Nizami sitting beside an Army officer in the vehicle. He further testified that he saw some Bengalis sitting with army members in the back of the motor vehicle. Additionally the witness testified that he saw Habibur Rahman and Akkas coming from the west to the east side. When Habibur Rahman and Akkas noticed the Army motor vehicle they ran towards a tree. The witness testified that the Army motor vehicle stopped beside the tree and Nizami said something by gesture and two army members shot and killed Habibur and Akkas. The Defense asked the witness several questions about his whereabouts on 28 April 1971, what time his meeting finished, about the roads which he used, how far the alleged site was from his home, etc. The witness replied that on 28 April after the Fazr prayer he attended a meeting beside Joinal’s house located at Bonogram. He claimed the meeting concluded at 8:30 and he started for his home at about 9 am. The witness replied that he did not use the main road as the Pakistani Army used that road. He testified that from Nishipara Kalibari his home was more than 1 mile away. The witness testified that the tree which he described was about 50 yards away from Nishipara Kalibari. The Defense asked the witness whether he used the same road to return as that which he used to go to Bonogram. The witness replied that he did not use the same road. The witness further testified that about 10 minutes after the Pakistani motor vehicle left he went to the tree and saw the corpses before leaving for Habibur Rahman’s home. He testified that at 10 or 10:30 am he reached the home of Habibur Rahman and then returned to his own home. The witness admitted that after that he did not return to the site of the killing again.
The Defense asked the witness whether he met with Nazim Uddin Khattab (PW-5) on the 29 or 30th of April. The witness replied that he does not remember. The Defense asked the witness whether he met with Nazim Uddin Khattab between May or December. The witness said that they did.
During examination in chief the witness testified that on 8 May 1971 after Fazar prayer he heard the sound of firing coming from Koromja village and hid himself behind a bamboo bush. After one hour the firing stopped and the witness started for Koromja village. When he reached Koromja he Megha Thakur, Diju Thakur, Koru Thakur, Josthi Haldar, Kartik Haldar, Shanta Haldar, Murali Mali and Fatik Chad shot and bloody. He testified that Murali Mali, Megha Thakur and Fakir Chad were buried in three different places. The nearby houses had been burned and the witness heard that the daughter and daughter-in-law of Megha Thakur had been raped by Pakistani Army members and Razakars. The witness further testified that he learned from Ansar Ali, Shofiz and others who were gathered there that Motiur Rahman Nizami, Rofikunnabi Bablu, Afzal, Asad, and Shokur Khan had been assisting the Pakistani Army and instructing them where to go. The Defense asked the witness what time he visited the alleged spot. The witness replied it was about 7:00 am. The Defense asked the witness when the Fazr prayer was on that day. The witness replied 5:00 or 5:30 am. The Defense asked whether the witness saw Shankor, Charan Hawlader, Poresh Chandra Hawlader, Dulali, Rahmat, Momena, Bishe and Gopal at the site of the alleged crimes. The witness replied that among those named he only remembered seeing Gopal. The Defense claimed that Gopal Dash is the brother of Murali Das. The witness replied that he only knows a person named Gopal Mali but he does not know whether he is the brother of Murali Das or not. The Defense asked the witness whether Gopal Mali is still alive or not. The witness replied he cannot say. The Defense asked the witness whether any other killing took place at Koromja village after 8 May 1971. The witness replied no. The Defense asked the witness whether he knew of a mentally impaired woman named Asha Rani. The witness replied he did not. The Defense asked the witness whether anyone named Habibur Rahman was killed on 8 May 1971 at Koromja. The witness replied no. The Defense asked the witness whether he knew Dulal and Probon. The witness replied that Dulal is the grandson of Megha Thakur and Probon is the son of Megha Thakur. The witness testified that he saw Dulal and Probon at the time of burial of Megha Thakur and others. The Defense claimed that the witness did not meet with Nazim Uddin Khattab at the time of the alleged burial of Megha Thakur. The witness denied the suggestion.
The Defense claimed that the alleged incident of 28 April 1971 which the witness described did not take place. The witness replied that it is not true. The Defense asked the witness whether he knew Nizami. The witness replied that he knew Nizami from Pakistan period. The Defense asked the witness about the education of Nizami and name of the Madrassa where Nizami studied or how far Nizami studied. The witness replied that he cannot say. The Defense asked the witness whether the people who personally witness the incident are still alive. The witness replied that may be they are alive but he personally does not know. The Defense asked the witness about the then neighbors of Megha Thakur. The witness said about Hasen Moitro, Ahmed Pramanik now known as Ahed Hazi, Aser Ali Pramanik and Mumin Pramanik. The Defense asked the witness now who is residing at the home of Megha Thakur. The witness replied Musa Pramanik and Daroga Ali. The Defense claimed that they forcefully took possession of the house of Megha Thakur. The witness replied that he does not know.
The Defense claimed and the witness admitted that the then Khodabox chairman of Koromja union used to reside in the Jomidar bari. The witness further testified that board office was in the same place. The Defense asked the name of the Jomidar where Khodabox resided. The witness replied that he cannot remember. The Defense asked the witness whether that Jomidar (where Khodabox resided) was the Jomidar of Karamja. The witness said it was. The Defense asked the witness whether Tarini Chowdhury and Jotin Moitro were the Jomidars of Koromja village. The witness said they were. The Defense asked the witness whether the family members of Megha Thakur are still living. The witness replied that the son of Megha Thakur is still alive but could not say where he is now. The Defense claimed that Bani, the daughter of Megha Thakur, resides in Pabna. The witness replied that he does not know.
The Defense claimed that the witness saw Nizami for the first time in the election of 1986. The witness denied that. The Defense asked the witness about the Pabna district Secretary and President of the Chhatra Union and Chhatra League of 1970 and 1971. The witness replied that he does not remember. The Defense claimed that the witness did not personally see the incident of 28 April or 8 May 1971. The witness denied te allegation. The Defense claimed that as an activist of Awami League the witness is providing false testimony in this false case. The witness denied the suggestion.
Prosecution Witness 20
Tohurul Alam Mollah, Prosecution witness 20 testified in support of Charge 5. He stated that he was a freedom fighter and first year student at Iswardi College, then known as Jinnah College, in 1971. Tahurul testified that in the election of 1970 he was the joint secretary of Chhatra League college unit. He stated that he heard Nizami’s during the election campaign of 1970. Before the speech it was declared that the President of Chhatra Shangho, student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, Motiur Rahman Nizami was going to provide his speech.
The witness testified that on 11 April 1971 the Pakistani Army entered Iswardi by Nagarbari. Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Chhatra Shangho and Nejami Islami joined with Pakistani Army. The witness said that members of the Bihari community also joined with the Pakistani Army and started committing mass killings. Tohurul testified that after 26 March his mother and siblings fled for safety and his father also urged him to leave the place. Tohurul testified that he left his home and when he came back he came to learned that his father, cousin, cousin’s son and maternal uncle had taken shelter in the Iswardi Central Mosque. The evening of 13 April 1971 he along with his friend Fazlur Rahman went to the Iswardi mosque to meet with his father, uncle and cousins. He testified that Jamaat-e-Islami leader Khodabox had opened an office with his associates in an abandoned house beside the mosque. Tohurul testified that he failed to reach to the mosque but that there is a house of Bengali family about 10 or 15 feet away from the office of Khodabox. He learned from that family that the Pakistan Army and some others killed his uncle Habibur Rahman, taking him in a place where coal were stored from the mosque. He heard from them that the leaders of Islami Chhatra Shangho: Motiur Rahman Nizami, Sobhan Mawlana, Moulana Ishaq and others consulted with Khodabox and killed his uncle.
Tohurul testified that returned again to Iswardi on 17th April 1971 at 4 pm to try to find his father, cousin and cousin’s son. He testified that at 5 pm he along with his friend hid themselves in a bush beside the mosque, their hiding place was about 10 or 15 feet away from the office of Khodabox. Tohurul testified that the office of Khodabox was known as torture cell. He claimed that he saw a Army motor vehicle and a white jeep waiting beside the torture cell. From his hiding place in the bush he saw Nizami, leader of Islami Chhatra Shangho, along with Moulana Sobhan and Moulana Ishaq talking with Khodabox. Thereafter, he saw some of them including some Bihari people heading towards the mosque. There they dragged his father towards the spot where coal was stored. Tohurul testified that then they started to stab his father with knives and swords. He testified that he tried to run towards his father but his friend restrained him. When the white jeep and Army motor vehicle left the spot they left the site. He testified that he did not get any further news about his father because he could not go back to Iswardi. However he learned that his father died due to the incident. Tohurul testified that he was interviewed by the Investigation Officer 4 or 5 months previously. He identified Nizami in the dock.