Category Archives: Trial of Syed Mohammad Qaisar

11 November 2013: ICT-2 – Hartal Coverage of Syed Mohammad Qaisar, Charges Pressed by the Prosecution

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following case:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Syed Mohammad Qaisar

This was the second day of a BNP-led-18-party opposition alliance enforced a continuous 84-hour countrywide hartal.  Due to the Hartal, our researcher could not safely travel to the Tribunal to be present in Court.  The following coverage was compiled from direct communication with Court officials, parties to the proceedings, and news coverage of the day’s events.

In ICT-2 today, Prosecutor Rana Das Gupta made brief submissions on the charges pressed by the Prosecution against Syed Mohammad Qaisar. The Prosecution submitted that the Accused had been involved in the killing of a total of 155 people over eleven separate incidents. He was also allegedly connected with two incidents involving rapes and five concerning abduction, looting, arson and other crimes. Counsel submitted that Syed Mohammdar Qaiser had formed the “Qaisar Bahini”, a force that played brutal role in the Brahmanbaria and Hobiganj area. The Qaisar Bahini allegedly comprised approximately 700 to 800 Rajakars. The Prosecutor further alleged that Qaisar was also a member of the Habiganj Peace Committee and the Chairman of Madhabpur Peace Committee under the Hobiganj area of greater Sylhet. He submitted that the involvement of the Accused were discovered in the course of investigation by the Investigation Agency, and will be supported by witness statements and miscellaneous other documentary evidence at trial, the Prosecutor argued.

At the conclusion of Prosecution submissions, the Court fixed 14 November 2013 as the date for passing the Charge Framing Order in the Qaisar case.

10 November 2013: ICT-2 – Hartal Coverage of Syed Mohammad Qaisar, Charges Pressed by the Prosecution

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following case:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Syed Mohammad Qaisar

The BNP-led-18-party opposition alliance enforced a continuous 84-hour countrywide hartal from 10 November 2013 until 13  November 2013.  This marked the opposition’s longest continuous hartal after the Eid vacation, significantly slowing down the proceedings of the Tribunal. Due to the Hartal, our researcher could not safely travel to the Tribunal to be present in Court.  The following coverage was compiled from direct communication with Court officials, parties to the proceedings, and news coverage of the day’s events.

Despite the hartal, the Prosecution pressed a total of 18 charges against Syed Mohammad Qaisar who was under investigation for his wartime role and alleged involvement with the Rajakar forces and Peace Committee in the Habiganj area of greater Sylhet. The formal charges against Qaisar were submitted to the Registrar Office of the Tribunal by Prosecutor Tureen Afroz and Prosecutor Ziad Al Malum.

The 18 charges pressed against the accused include 11 incidents concerning his involvement in the killing of approximately 155 people, 2 incidents concerning rape, and 5 incidents involving abduction, looting, arson and miscellaneous other crimes. All of these incidents allegedly occured between April and November in 1971. Our researchers have thus far been unable to obtain a copy of the formal charges submitted.

Previously, on 5 August 2013, Qaisar was granted conditional bail by ICT-2, due to his health condition.

5 August 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Qaisar Bail Application Granted

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Syed Mohammad Qaisar

Today Tribunal 2 granted bail to Mr Syed Mohammad Qaisar. This is only the second time either of the two Tribunals have granted bail to a suspect. Defendant Abdul Alim is also free on bail. All other suspects have been denied bail.

On 22 July 2013 the Tribunal had heard Qaisar’s bail application and instructed the jail authorities to submit a report on the availability of adequate health care facilities for the 73 year old war crimes suspect. Today the Tribunal announced that having reviewed the report it had reached the conclusion that the health of the detained suspect is such that he should be enlarged on bail, subject to strict adherence on his part to conditions imposed by the Tribunal. The following conditions apply to his bail:

  1. The suspect shall not communicate with any political leaders
  2. He shall refrain from making any comments to the media
  3. There shall be no form of intimidation of the potential witnesses of war crimes
  4. The suspect shall stay in his Banani residence and shall not go anywhere without prior permission of the tribunal
  5. He must cooperate with the investigation agencies
  6. A bail bond of Taka 1 Lac ( Taka 100,000) shall be submitted immediately on his behalf

The Tribunal warned that bail would be revoked if there was any violation of any of the conditions.

30 July 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin PW 7, Alim Cross-Examination PW 35

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim

The Tribunal recorded the testimony of Prosecution witness 7 in the case against Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, both of whom are being tried in absentia. Next it heard the cross-examination of the Investigation Officer, Prosecution witness 35, in the Alim case.

The Tribunal then adjourned for the day after deferring the scheduled order on Syed Mohammad Qaisar’s bail application as the jail authorities failed to submit their report on the health condition of the suspect who is now in its custody. Continue reading

18 July 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin Cross-Examination PW-2, Investigation of Syed Mohammad Qaisar, Pre-trial AKM Yusuf

Today a nation-wide hartal was called in response to the conviction and sentencing of Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid. Our coverage of today’s proceedings are therefore gathered from media sources as well as from conversations with the Prosecution and Defense.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, in absentia
  2. Investigation of Syed Mohammad Qaisar
  3. Pre-trial Stage of AKM Yusuf Case

Continuing where they left of on 16 July in the Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin case, the Tribunal heard the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 2, Asif Munir. The witness is the son of Professor Munir Chowdhury, who was killed as part of the Bangladeshi intellectual community in December of 1971. He was cross-examined by the two state appointed defense attorneys: Mr Shukur Khan who is representing Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Ms Tuny who is representing Chowdhury Mueen Uddin.

The Tribunal also directed the Prosecution to submit a progress report on the investigation into suspect Syed Mohammad Qaisar. They scheduled the report for 13 August 2013. Qaisar, an former state Minister in President Ershad’s cabinet, has been in police custody since 21 May 2013 for his alleged involvement in atrocities committed during the 1971 independence war.

In the pre-trial proceedings against AKM Yusuf the Tribunal granted a Defense application for additional time and adjourned the proceedings of the case until 22 July 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin
Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 2
The witness Asif Munir previously testified that his father was abducted by Al-Badr men from their house in Central Road, Dhaka on 14 December 1971, just two days prior to Bangladesh’s victory against the Pakistan. He also claimed that his father was targeted because of his vocal opposition to the then Pakistani government’s anti-Bengali stance. He described how his father was abducted from their Central Road house and said that he learned the details of the incident from his mother, brother and a paternal uncle, all of whom witnessed the incident first hand.

Asif Munir that at around 1 p.m. on the day of the incident someone knocked at the door. The witness’s mother saw from the window that a microbus was standing in front of their house. The vehicle was covered with tree branches on its roof and covered with mud.  A few young men got out of the car and came to their gate, where they were met by the witness’ uncle, Mr Shamsher Chowdhury Rusho. The men asked Mr. Shamser  if he was Munir Chowdhury. The uncle said no and went back to the house where he informed the victim Munir that they were seeking him. Munir then went down to the ground floor to meet the men. The witness then said that he was told that his father was forced into the microbus at gunpoint after a heated exchange of words. The witness’s mother and brother, Mishuk Munir, witnessed the incident from the first floor. The witness stated he only four years old at that time.

After independence the family of the witness who saw the incident became sure that Ashrafuzzaman and Mueen Uddin were both directly involved in the abduction upon seeing the photographs of the perpetrators published in a newsreport in the Daily Purbadesh. They recognized the photographs of the two accused as being amongst those youths who abducted the victim. The newspapers alleged that these men were directly involved in the killing of many other Bengali intellectuals.

The witness further stated that he later coincidentally met one Mr Delwar Hossain who was similarly picked up by Al-Badr men in December, 1971. Delwar told him that he heard the name of Munir Chowdhury and saw him amongst those who were detained and tortured in the Al-Badr concentration camp in Mohammadpur Physical Training Institute.

The witness stated that his brother also gave similar description in his statement given to the Investigation Officer of the case, before his early demise in a tragic road accident on 13 August 2011.

17 June 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Qaiser Investigation, Alim Examination-in-Chief of PW 25

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Investigation of Syed Mohammad Qaisar
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim

The Prosecution submitted a report about the ongoing investigation against Syed Mohammad Qaisar and requested the suspect’s continued detention. The Tribunal ordered that the suspect remain in custody during the investigation, and set July 18, 2013 as the date for further orders. In the Alim case, the Prosecution conducted the examination-in-chief of Prosecution witness 25, who testified with regard to Charge 4 against Alim. Continue reading

22 May 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Mujahid Closing Arguments, Alim PW 21, Pre-trial issues and contempt

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Contempt Proceedings Against Selim Uddin
  2. Syed Md Qaisar: Bail Application
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs. Md Ashruzzaman Khan and  Moinuddin
  4. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid – Defense Closing Arguments
  5. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim – Cross-Examination of PW 21

The Tribunal deferred the contempt proceedings against Selim Uddin until 28 May 2013 for further order. It then moved on to hear the bail application filed on behalf of Syed Md Qaisar who is currently under investigation for war crimes and related offences that may have been committed during the 1971 War of Liberation. Mr Qaisar, a former BNP leader and a subsequent policy maker of President HM Ershad’s cabinet was arrested on a warrant issued by Tribunal-2 on 15 May 2013. Upon hearing the bail application, the court took a brief recess of twenty minutes before finally rejecting the application. Mr Qaisar was then sent to jail.

The Prosecution team in the cases against Md Ashrafuzaman Khan alias Nayeb Ali and Moinuddin notified the Tribunal that they had followed its order and published a notification in two widely circulated national dailies asking the two defendants to appear before the Tribunal. The notice was published on 14 May 2013 in the Daily Janakantha and on 15 May in the Daily Star. The notification announced that failure to appear within 10 days of such publication would result in the court ordering trials-in-absentia, as was done in the case of Abul Kalam Azad. The Tribunal stated that they would hear the case next on  27 May 2013.

In the case of Mujahid the Defense began their Closing Arguments. They began with arguments regarding the evidentiary aspects of the case and stated that senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzak will be later address the relevant legal arguments.

Finally, the Defense counsel for Abdul Alim conducted the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 21. They primarily attacked the credibility of the witness and accused him of providing false testimony. The Defense further suggested that the witness provide the same testimony to the Investigation Officer during his original interview.  Continue reading