Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Mobarak Hossain
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Channel 24 and Others
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Khandaker Mahbub Hossain
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Zahid Hossain Khokon
In the case against Mobarak Hossain, today was set for recording testimony from Defense Witness 2. However the senior Defense Counsel for Mobarak Hossain was absent, so his junior Defense Counsel sought adjournment. The Tribunal granted the motion and adjourned the proceedings of the case until 7 January 2014.
On 26 September 2013, the Tribunal issued a notice towards Channel 24 and others, asking them to give reply by 10 October as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them. The order particularly asked Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury and Mahfuz Ullah to personally appear before the Tribunal to explain positions they represented about the Tribunal on a talk Show on Channel 24. The Court further ordered that Channel 24 not broadcast the impugned episode again.
Today, 24 December 2013, was set for a hearing on the matter. Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury, Trustee of Gonosastho Kendra was present at the Tribunal, however, Mahfuz Ullah, General Secretary of Center for Sustainable Development was absent. The Tribunal ordered Mahfuz Ullah to appear before 2 pm. When he did, the Tribunal set 28 January 2014 for further hearing on these contempt matters.
Another hearing was scheduled for today in the contempt proceedings against Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, but a lawyer representing Mr. Hossain sought adjournment for 4 weeks. The Tribunal granted the request and adjourned the proceedings of the case until 23 January 2014.
Zahid Hossain Khokon
In the case against Zahid Hossain Khokon, the Tribunal recorded the testimony of Abdul Gafar Mollah (PW-19) and Prosecution Witness 20. Prosecution witness 20 gave testimony in camera. PW-19 testified in support of Charge 9, and was cross-examined by state-appointed Defense Counsel.
Examination-in Chief of PW- 19
Abdul Gafar Mollah, Prosecution witness 19, testified that in 1971 he was 40 years old. He testified that on 16th Joishtho (a Bengali year) of 1971 at 3 pm, he saw Khokon, his accomplices, and Pakistani Army coming towards their home. Abdul Gafar stated that noticing that he asked his mother to flee. With his mother and family members, he hid beside a canal. He testified that they crossed the canal and went to Dofa village while his mother stayed in the bank of the canal because she was unable to cross. When he was returning to the bank, Gurudash told him that Razakar Khokon shot and killed his mother. Abdul Gafar then testified that he found his mother’s corpse beside the canal and buried her. He further stated that he heard that Khokon had killed 5 or 6 people from their village by firing. He acknowledged giving an interview to the IO and testified that Khokon is not present at the Tribunal.
Cross-Examination of PW-19
The state appointed Defense Counsel asked the witness whether he participated in the liberation war. The witness replied in the negative. The Defense claimed that the witness did not know Khokon when the alleged occurrence took place and asked the witness when Gurudash informed him about the killing of his mother. The witness replied that Gurudash informed him in the evening. The Defense then asked the witness when he buried his mother’s corpse, and he replied that he had done so in the evening of that day as well. The Defense claimed that Gurudash told him (the witness) that the Pakistani Army killed his mother, to which the witness replied that the statement was false. The Defense asked the witness whether he had filed any case regarding his mother’s killing. The witness replied that, with the help of the Union Council Chairman, he filed an application at the local police station. The Defense claimed that Khokon was not a Razakar, was not involved in the alleged crimes, and did not help any Pakistani. The Defense further claimed the witness gave false testimony to undermine the reputation of the Accused. The witness denied all of these claims.