11 September 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Motiur Rahman Nizami, Cross Examination of PW-21; Mobarak Hossain, Examination of PW-10

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Mobarak Hossain

In the case of Motiur Rahman Nizami, Defense completed the cross-examination of Yusuf Ali Biswas, Prosecution witness 21. He testified in support of charge 1. Thereafter, Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until 12 September 2013.

In the case of Mobarak Hossain, Tribunal recorded the examination-in-chief and cross-examination of Abdul Hamid, Prosecution witness 10. Thereafter, Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until 22 September 2013.

Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 21

In the case of Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami, cross Examination continued from where it left off on 10 September 2013.  During the examination-in-chief, Yusuf Ali Biswas had testified about a killing he witnessed on 9 June 1971, allegedly involving the accused, at Madhpur. Probing the details, Defense counsel asked the witness various questions about the location of the Madhpur bazaar, Ishamoti river, and the alleged place of occurrence of the killing. The Defense asked the witness about the tea stall where the witness claimed that he was sitting, name of the shopkeeper, whether there was any other customers in that tea stall. Counsel further inquired about the straw hut where the witness claimed he hid himself. The witness replied that the alleged spot of occurrence was 700 to 800 yards away from Madhpur bazaar, and in the left side on the way to Sathia from Madhpur bazaar. The witness replied that there was no customer at the tea stall while they were talking tea and cannot say the name of the shopkeeper. He said that the straw hut where they hid themselves was in the south side of the road but could not say about the owner of that house. The witness testified that hearing the sound of the firing the owner of the tea stall also fled.

The Defense asked the witness about his friends Arshed Ali, Sekendar Ali and Kuddus and their families and how he (the witness) became the friends of them. The witness replied that Sekendar Ali also worked in Pakistan Army. The witness testified that he got acquainted with Sekendar Ali and Arshad Ali Pramanik before he (the witness) joined the Pakistan Army. The witness could not say the name of Sekendar or Arshad Ali’s fathers, nor give any details about their siblings or children. The Defense claimed that there was no freedom fighter or resident named Arshad Ali at Putipara, but the witness maintained that this individual existed. The Defense asked the witness about Kuddus, and he replied that Kuddus was a student in 1971, but he could not say whether he was a secondary or college student. He did recall that the father of Kuddus was a doctor.

The Defense asked he witness if he ever visited Madhpur or met with his three friends after the liberation war. The witness replied that he did not visit Madhpur after liberation war, because he had no time, and likewise he never saw those three friends. Counsel sought more details about the locals the witness claimed were present when they discovered the bodies. The witness replied that he did not know anything about them. When asked the witness whether he knew Nizami before 10 June 1971, the witness replied in the affirmative. The Defense asked the witness when he came to know that he would be a witness of this case. The witness replied that he knew approximately 5 months beforehand, in May of 2013. The Defense asked the witness whether he described the alleged incident of 10 June 1971 to any one before his interview to the Investigating Officer. The witness replied negative.

The Defense challenged why many of the statements made by the witness in direct examination didn’t appear in his original statement to the Investigating Officer.   The witness insisted that everything he testified about, he had previously discussed with the IO.  The Defense claimed that the witness did not mention going to his friend’s home village in his initial interview, but the witness denied the oversight. The Defense further claimed that the witness had failed to mention pick-ups in his initial interview. The witness replied that he could not remember whether he had or not. The Defense concluded cross-examination by accusing the witness of being swayed by his political loyalty to Awami League, and giving false testimony accusing Motiur Rahman Nizami of crimes. The witness flatly denied the allegation.

Examination-in-Chief of Prosecution Witness 10

In the case of Chief Prosecutor vs. Mobarak Hossain, Abdul Hamid testified as Prosecution Witness 10.  According to his testimony, in the middle of October 1970 he joined Army, and was sent to EBRC of Chittagong for training. Hamid testified that he took training at Montoli camp in India in 1971, and participated in the liberation war. On 9 December 1971, Chittagong was liberated. At that time the Chittagong cantonment was under the control of Indian forces. Hamid testified about his whereabouts during this time, and recounted a tale of returning to his village home to discover that his elder brother Abdur Rauf had joined the Razakar forces with the accused, Mobarak. Hamid testified that he asked his brother how he could joined Razakars when one of his brothers was detained in Pakistan. Hamid’s brother informed him that Mobarak had forced him to join Razakars.

Hamid testified about a number of stories that his brother (who reportedly died 3 and a half years ago) had conveyed to him. For instance, he came to know from his brother that a boy called Asu Ranjon was brought to the Kali Mandir (which had been re-named Razakar Monjil), and Mobarak and his associates shot that boy to death on the bank of Kurulia canal. Hamid further testified that his brother had told him that Mobarak Ali, Mukta Mia, and Baju Mia caught 30 or 35 persons and handed them over to Pakistani Army to be killed along the west bank of Gonga Sagor canal. He testified that there is a mass graveyard in that place. Hamid also heard from his brother that Mobarak and his associates had killed a freedom fighter named Abdul Khalek at Bakailghat after torturing him in the Shuhilpur Razakar camp. Hamid acknowledged giving an interview to the Investigating Officer, and identified Mobarak in the dock.

Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 10

In an effort to undermine his credibility, the Defense asked the witness whether he had been accused in any criminal case, or called as a witness in another trial. The witness initially denied both, but the Defense pressed with a specific question about whether one captain Jahangir had filed a case against him in Brahmanbaria Magistrate court. The witness admitted that a case had been filed, but he clarified that this was a non-GR case, and in any event, he got acquittal. The Defense asked the witness whether he filed any application against Mobarak Ali to the commanding officer of Bangladesh Army of Brahmanbaria. The witness said he had not. The Defense asked the witness whether he was acquainted with Khodeza, Prosecution witness 2. The witness replied that he saw Khodeza once when she came to his house 4 years previously. The Defense claimed that Hamid infact knew PW-2 much better than he had admitted, and that he was a witness in a case she had filed at Brahmanbaria police station (case number 5(5)09). The witness denied any knowledge of this.

Defense Counsel subsequently moved to a series of questions about the witness’ family, suggesting that various relations were Razakars and that the family was “known” in their village to be a Razakar family.  The witness denied this.  When Defense counsel asked the witness whether he had a freedom fighter certificate with the signature of General Osmani. The witness acknowledged that he has no such certificate, but said that as a regular Army soldier his name is listed in the freedom fighter list, which he had provided to the Investigating Officer. Counsel concluded cross-examination by generally undermining the witness’ credibility, highlighting how much of his testimony was based on hearsay from his brother, and accusing the witness of giving false testimony due to the influence of Kodeza Begum. The witness denied this allegation.