Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following case:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. AKM Yusuf
Today the Tribunal recorded the cross-examination of PW-4 and the examination-in-chief of PW-5 in the case against AKM Yusuf. The Defense also began cross-examination of PW-5. They did not complete this before the end of today’s session, so it was scheduled to be completed on 17 November 2013. The Tribunal adjourned until that date.
PW-4 Cross Examination
In response to the questions from the defense Counsel, the witness replied that he had last seen Mr. Yusuf at least 14 to 15 years ago in Southkhali Union’s Chaltabunia Bazar (marketplace) at the opening ceremony of a mosque.
The witness then confirmed the defense suggestions that Yusuf took initiative establishing approximately 12 to 13 mosques and madrasas (Islamic education center), orphanages and clinics in the same area. He replied that he did not know whether Yusuf was the Principal or Head Master of a Madrasa in Khulna. He then said that he did not know the accused Yusuf until Yusuf became a Minister in 1971. Nonetheless, he said that he heard Yusuf’s name prior to that.
The witness confirmed that Rayenda Bazar is located in the bank of Bolesshor River and many ships travel across it. The Police Station of Sharonkhola was situated in this Rayenda Bazar in 1971.
The defense Counsel then turned to the incident that occurred on the night of June 6th. The witness stated that a launch came to the area, however it late became clear that he did not personally see who got out of that “launch” ship, but heard it from somewhere else. In response to further probing from the defense Counsel, the Witness stated he couldn’t specifically say from whom he heard the details of 6th June 1971 that he has stated in his exam-in-chief.
The witness claimed that he did not know anything about the book “Ekatturey Bagherhat” (Bagherhat in 71). He later admitted, however, that his name may appear in the book, as he was a local freedom fighter and commander of that area.
The witness confirmed that the Investigation Officer (IO) questioned him on 6 October, 2012 in Sharonkhola Police Station, after which, the defense Counsel outlined the various contradictions between the witness’s previous statements to the IO with what he said to the court. The witness denied any suggestion that the incident he had stated in his testimony was untrue and maintained that he is giving testimony against Yusuf merely because he has been specifically instructed by the prosecution to do so.
The testimony of the witness relates to Charge-1, 3, 9 and 12.
Mr. Abdul Jalil alias Tunu, who is now 58 years old, gave testimony as PW-5. He is the son Moulobi Yusuf Ali Hawladar from Kathaltola villae of Morolganj Police Station in Bagherhat. He testified that he does household work for living.
The witness stated that the accused Yusuf was appointed as the Chairman of Peace Committee of Rozoir village under Sharonkhola Police Station. He organized people of Jamaat-e-Islami and Muslim League and took them to Khulna to provide training. After training, he personally gave the men arms and weapons. According to the Witness, it was Yusuf who established the Rajakar camp in Boroikhali Union Parishad Office, along with 20 to 22 members of Rajakar forces. Mr. Abdul Jalil testified that they brutally killed many people during this time.
Mr. Abdul Jalil went on to describe incidents he observed on various dates in 1971. He stated that on 13 May, 1971, around 8 am, he was in his house when he heard from people that his brother, who was a freedom fighter and fought under Liakat Ali Khan, had been taken to camp where he had been tortured and killed. Upon hearing the news, the Witness and his brother-in-law rushed to the camp where they found his brother’s dead body lying on the floor. The witness stated that he saw Yusuf was at the camp and was told by others in the camp that it was Yusuf who killed his brother.
Few days later on 17 May, 1971, between 10 am-10:30 am, AKM Yusuf attacked Morolganj Bazar, a local marketplace, with 20 to 22 Rajakar members. There, he looted and burnt the houses of freedom fighters Kabir Ahmed Modhu, Liakat Ali Khan and others. AKM Yusuf and the Rajakar forces also looted 200 to 300 shops in Morolganj Bazar, along with 22 houses.
On 19 May, 1971, around 9 pm, Yusuf and Pakistani Army came to Morolganj Bazar. They caught and killed pro-liberation men including unarmed Niranjan Das, Shanti Ranjan Das, Pijush Ghorai and about 6 other men, who were also tortured. Around midnight, they detained 5 to 6 men in Moralganj Pontoon and shot them one after another. At that time, Pijush Ghorai opened his lungi and managed to escape. At this point, the Judges enquired as to how the victim managed to escape and how the Witness observed this incident. The witness stated that that the victim dove in the river and crossed it to escape to India. He also specified that he saw the incident from a nearby place where he was hiding.
The witness further stated that Yusuf ordered the killing of Dr. Abdul Majid on 26 July, 1971. Yusuf and Rajakar forces took Dr. Abdul Majid to the riverbank and shot him. The witness stated that he saw this incident along with many others.
The defense Counsel began the cross-examination of the witness by asking about the lighting condition at the point of occurrence of the incident that took place on 19 May 1971. In reply, the witness stated that it was dark when he witnessed the murder of Dr. Abdul Majid. The defense Counsel then inquired if the Witness wrote down the dates of incident in any notebook or diary. Mr. Abdul Jalil replied that he did not write the dates of occurrence anywhere, but that he simply he remembered them.