7 November 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary –Motiur Rahman Nizami, Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following case:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami

In the case of Motiur Rahman Nizami, the Defense began closing arguments today. The Defense submissions focused on the testimony of PW-1, Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury, and PW-26, IO Abdur Razzak Khan.  Counsel also reviewed several  evidentiary exhibits. Thereafter, the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings in the case until 10 November 2013.

Closing Arguments of the Defense

The Defense acknowledged Motiur Rahman Nizami was the president of Pakistani Islami Chatra Sangha, student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, until the end of September 1971, but they denied that Nizami was the chief of Al-Badars or involved with the activities of Al-Badr. The Defense further denied any involvement of the Accused in forming the Shanti (Peace) Committee, Razakars, Al-Badr, or Al-Shams.

Various charges accuse Nizami of conspiring with the Pakistani Army in order to commit crimes against Bengalis. The Defense submitted that during cross-examination, the IO admitted that they did not find any documents to prove the alleged conspiracy between the Pakistan Army and Nizami. Defense Counsel argued that the conspiracy allegation was based on political animosity rather than fact. The Defense highlighted the fact that the complaint in this case originated with Rezaul Huq Chadpuri, who is one of the leaders of Awami League-led 14-party alliance, and who has filed a writ petition to ban Jamaat-e-Islami as political party. The Defense further found the speed with which the complaint was handled to be suspicious. The complaint was apparently registered on 21 July 2010, and by 22 July 2010 the Investigation office had already asked the Tribunal to arrest Nizami, claiming that they had a prima facie case against him. PW-26 admitted that he did not record interviews with any witnesses between the time the case was registered and when he sought to arrest Nizami.  Instead, he spent that dayreading through issues of the Daily Shangram dated 15 September 1971 and 14 Novemebr 1971, as well as a book entitled ‘Ekatorer Ghatokera Ke Kothai,’ although Defense noted that the IO also testified ‘‘Ekatorer Ghatokera Ke Kothai’ (Exhibit-35) was not seized from the Liberation War Museum until 10 July 2013.

Turning to evidentiary exhibits, the Defense called the Court’s attention to inconsistencies between the testimony of PW-1, Exhibit 42, a book titled ‘Ekattorer Dosh Mash’ written by Rabindra Nath Tribedi, and Exhibit 35, a book titled ‘‘Ekatorer Ghatokera Ke Kothai’ written by Dr. Ahmed Sharifgong, regarding the formation of Al-Badr force. The Defense read out the testimony of PW-1, Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury, where he said that he was present at the meeting when Gholam Azam met with the King of Saudi Arabia in August 1974 .  However, in his book (Exhibit-BH), Gholam Azam stated that he went to Saudi Arabia in April 1974, not August. The Defense argued that this proved that Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury gave false testimony before the Tribunal. To support the allegation, Counsel cited a number of other inconsistencies and apparent falsehoods from the witness.  For instance, PW-1 testified that he received a BA from Kushtia College in 1984, but his name did not appear on the BA pass list of Kushtia College of 1984 (Exhibit-BB). PW-1 had also claimed that he read issues of the Daily Shangram in 1969, but newspaper was only first published on 17 January 1970. PW-1 claimed that he did not provide any interview to Sahriar Kabir, but Kabir’s book shows that he did in fact give an interview. After reviewing these and a number of other discrepancies found in the testimony of Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury, Defense claimed that his testimony was not reliable.

Defense concluded arguments for the day by calling into question the authenticity of a number of written exhibits, including Exhibit 28/2, a book titled ‘Al-Badr’ written by Selim Monsur, Exhibit 33, a book titled ‘Pabna Zillar Muktizuddher Kotha,’ written by Johirul Islam Bishu, Exhibit 35, a book titled ‘Ekattorer Dosh Mash,’ and Exhibit 30, a book titled ‘Bangladeshe Moulabad and Shamprodaikota,’ written by Sahriar Kabir.