Category Archives: Trial of Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid

16 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Kamaruzzaman Final Closing Arguments, Mujahid Cross-Examination of PW 17

The publication of this post was delayed as we were waiting to obtain certain documents from the Prosecution. Please excuse the inconvenience.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecution vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman: Defense application and Conclusion of Prosecution Closing Arguments, Accused Present 
  2. Chief Prosecution vs. Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid: Defense Application and Cross-Examination of Investigation Officer

The Tribunal heard the last of the Prosecution’s Closing Arguments in the Kamaruzzaman  case. Prosecutor Tureen Afroz addressed remaining legal issues including the value of hearsay evidence, inconsistencies and the old evidence rule, and the doctrine of Superior Responsibility under Section 4(2). Two other Prosecutors made additional closing remarks before the Tribunal allowed the Defense to present a brief rebuttal. The case was then closed and the Tribunal officially took it into consideration awaiting verdict.

In the Mujahid case the Tribunal heard a Prosecution application seeking limitation of the number of Defense witnesses allowed. The Defense previously submitted a list of 1500 names listed as possible defense witnesses. After Disposing of the Application and limiting the Defense to three witnesses, the Tribunal then returned to the Defense’s cross-examination of Prosecution witness 17, the Investigation Officer.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Kamaruzzaman
Defense Application for Opportunity to Make Statement
At the beginning of the day’s proceedings, the defense submitted an application on behalf of the accused under Section 17(1) and (2) of the ICT Act seeking permission for the Accused to make a statement before the Tribunal. Section 17(1) provides that the Accused “shall have the right to give any explanation relevant to the charge mage against him.” Section 17(2) allows the Accused to conduct his own Defense or to have the assistance of counsel.

The Prosecution opposed the application and stated that such a statement could only be allowed while the Tribunal is hearing witnesses. However, Closing Arguments are taking place and there is no such right at this stage of proceedings.

The Judges quickly rejected the application and agreed with the Prosecution’s interpretation of the Statute.  Continue reading

21 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following matters:

  1. Contempt Proceedings vs. Selim Uddin and Others Jamaat Leaders
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid: Cross examination of Investigating Officer, Accused Present

Proceedings before Tribunal 2 began with contempt proceedings against Jamaat leaders Selim Uddin, Hamidur Rahman, Azad MP and Rafiqul Islam.  Selim Uddin was arrested on 8 March 2013 under an arrest warrant issued by the Tribunal on 6 March. Today the Tribunal passed an order against the parties, stating that the submitted written explanation for the allegedly contemptuous behavior was not satisfactory. Therefore proceedings under Section 11(4) of the ICT Act are issued against the accused. Defense counsel Tajul Islam, who had earlier been appointed as counsel to the four Jammat leaders, was not present in the court during the session. The Tribunal scheduled the next hearing on the matter for 9 May 2013, and stated that any further submissions, explanations or observations must be filed before that date.

The Tribunal then resumed hearing the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 17, Investigation Officer Abdur Razzaq . The Defense continued to highlight the various procedural flaws in the investigation process and the underlying deficiencies in the investigation’s findings.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Mujahid
Cross-Examination of Investigation Officer
The Defense resumed its questioning and asked whether the witness went to Chorfasion as part of his investigation. The witness replied that he did not visit the area. He asserted that another Investigation Officer, Nur Hossain, investigated the case against Abul Kalam Azad. He acknowledged that some of the witnesses in that case are also witnesses in the case against Mujahid. The Investigation Officer stated that he interviewed them separately.

The witness stated that he began his investigation in Dhaka on 5 December 2010. He first visited the Daily Jugantor office, which is the office of witness Mahbub Kamal, in the Notre Dame College area. The witness stated that the area is called Arambag. The Defense objected and said it is not called Arambag and suggested that the Investigating Officer does not actually know the location.  The witness said he did not go anywhere else as part of the investigation.  Continue reading

18 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Mujahid Cross-Examination of PW 17

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim: Rescheduling of PW 16, Accused Present
  2. Prosecution vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid : Cross-examination of PW 17, Accused Present

Today the Prosecutor in the case against Abdul Alim, Mr Rana Das Gupta, requested an adjournment of the case until the 22nd or 23rd of April, due to difficulties in producing Prosecution witness 16. He stated that the witness had encountered difficulty in reaching Dhaka and therefore was not present. Defense counsel, Mr Ahsanul Huq Hena, added that the 23rd would be appropriate as it has been announced as a hartal day and it is unlikely that the Defense counsel in other cases will appear. The Tribunal agreed and scheduled 23 April 2013 for the next hearing.

The Tribunal then turned to the case against Mujahid, in which the Defense resumed its cross-examination of  Prosecution witness 17, the Investigation Officer Abdur Razzaq. The Defense’s core line of questioning aimed at highlighting the various procedural flaws in the investigation process and underlying deficiencies that undermine the reliability of the officer’s findings.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Mujahid: Cross-Examination of PW 17
The witness testified that he went to Gopinath Shaha’s house at 11 a.m. He confirmed that Gopinath Shaha’s three siblings, Khirodh Shaha, Shakti Shaha (PW-13), and Kanon Bala live in India. The Investigating Officer admitted that Prosecution witness 13, Shakti Shaha, periodically comes to Bangladesh and that this fact was not included in the statement of Gopinath Shaha.

The Defense suggested that during the investigation it was discovered that Gopinath had previously filed a case regarding his father’s death. They alleged tat this fact was being concealed because Mujahid’s name was among the accused in the prior case. The Investigating Officer denied the allegations. He admitted that he did not determine the date of Shakti Shaha’s last visit to Bangladesh prior to the witness’ date of testimony. Continue reading

Weekly Digest 10: March 24-28

We apologize for the delay in publishing this week’s digest.

The Tribunal was in recess on 26 March 2013 in honor of Bangladesh’s independence day. Additionally, opposition parties declared hartals on the 27th and 28th of March. Therefore our coverage of those days is gathered from media sources as well as discussions with the Defense and Prosecution. Our researchers are unable to attend proceedings on hartal days due to security concerns.

Tribunal 1:
Proceedings in Tribunal 1 continued to center on the Defense’s Closing Arguments in the Gholam Azam case this week, with counsel completing their submissions regarding factual issues and Charge 5. Senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq is scheduled to present arguments on legal issues and Charges 1-4 next week. In the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case the Defense cross-examined Prosecution witnesses 22 and 23. Additionally, The Tribunal heard Chowdhury’s Defense application for police escort to the Tribunal on hartal days.

Tribunal 2:
Tribunal 2 dealt with two cases this week. In the Kamaruzzaman case, Defense witness 5 completed providing testimony, and the Prosecution began Closing Arguments. The Tribunal also heard testimony from Prosecution witness 17, the Investigating Officer, in the Mujahid case.

Please read the full report here: Weekly Digest, Issue 10 – March 24-28

7 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Mujahid Cross-Examination of PW 17 – Investigating Officer

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid

Today the Investigating Officer, prosecution witness 17 Abdur Razzaq, was cross examined by the Defense. They highlighted the various procedural flaws in the investigation process and the underlying deficiencies of his findings, thereby seeking to discredit his testimony.  Proceedings were adjourned before the cross-examination was completed because the witness claimed was feeling unwell. The Tribunal first adjourned until 2 p.m., but the witness did not feel better after the lunch recess and court was adjourned for the day.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Mujahid: Defense Cross-Examination of Investigation Officer
Abdul Razaq is the Investigation Officer for the ICT. He testified as Prosecution witness 17. At the beginning of the cross-examination the Defense asked the witness to verify his personal details including date of birth and year in which he began working for the Police as an investigator.

The witness testified that the investigation into Mujahid began as part of Complaint Registrar case No. 1, on 21 July 2010. The Complaint Registrar case against four accused: Nizami, Mujahid, Kamaruzzaman and Qader Molla. Additionally, the witness testified that he used the judicial record of the Pallabi Case No. 60, which was filed under the regular Penal Code of Bangladesh.

The witness acknowledged that he did not request or receive the Case Diary of the Investigation Officer of the case filed in Pallabi. He also admitted that he did not attempt to determine whether a Police Report was filed in the magistrate level case. The witness testified that informant Amir Hossain Molla named 14 witnesses in the investigation. The Investigating Officer attested that he interviewed each of them. He claimed he was not instructed to separately investigate each of the accused. He acknowledged that Mujahid’s name appeared in the “First Information Report” (FIR), although there was no specific allegation against him. A subsequent FIR however, alleged crimes under Section 3(2). Continue reading

2 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Hartal, Mujahid Prosecution Witness, Kamaruzzaman Closing Arguments

Today due to security concerns relating to the hartal our researchers were unable to attend proceedings. The following summary is compiled from media sources and conversations with the Defense and Prosecution.

The Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Mohammed Kamaruzzaman

Due to the hartal Tribunal 2 convened only for a brief session of an hour and a half.  The examination-in-chief of the Investigation Officer in the Mujahid case was completed. The witness affirmed his prior testimony regarding his investigation findings that the accused acted as the President of Faridpur District Islami Chatra Shangha (ICS) during the pre-liberation and Liberation War periods. The witness also stated that the Accused later became the President of Islami Chatra Shangha’s Dhaka Unit, subsequently becoming Secretary and then President of East Pakistan ICS. The witness also submitted further documentary evidence before the Tribunal. The witness is scheduled to be cross-examined by the Defense on 7 April 2013.  

Kamaruzzaman’s case was also listed in the day’s daily cause list. The learned Senior Advocate for the defense Barrister Abdur Razzaq previously informed the tribunal that he would present the Defense’s Closing Arguments, and had therefore requested accommodation of his schedule as he his also representing Gholam Azam in Tribunal 1. Today Razzaq was not present due to the Hartal. Although the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings for the day due to his absence, it was stressed that the Tribunal would terminate the Defense’s arguments if counsel continues to be absent. In such an event, the Tribunal stated the Defense would only be entitled to submit written arguments. Unlike Tribunal 1, no cost sanction for non-attendance has been imposed on the senior counsel by Tribunal 2. 

Weekly Digest Issue 6: February 24-28

We apologize that we are slightly behind in our weekly digests of the proceedings. Due to limited staff and unforeseen obstacles, including hartals, we have had some delays in our coverage. Our daily summaries are up to date and we hope to have our weekly digests up to date shortly as well. Thank you for your patience.

Please find below our Weekly Digest Issue 6, covering the week of February 24-28. This week was dominated by the announcement of the verdict in Chief Prosecutor vs. Delwar Hossain Sayedee on 28 February 2013, in which Sayedee was found guilty of 8 charges and sentenced to death. For a detailed report on the Judgment against Sayedee please see our Special Issue Report, available here.

In addition to issuing the Sayedee Judgment, Tribunal 1 also continued to hear the Prosecution’s Closing Arguments in the Gholam Azam case, and the Prosecution submitted Formal Charges against Mubarak Hossain. Tribunal 2 heard proceedings in the Kamaruzzaman, Abdul Alim and Mujahid cases, as well as contempt proceedings.

The Weekly Digest is accessible here: Weekly Digest, Issue 6 – Feb 24-28