Tag Archives: Mujahid

16 May 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Mujahid Prosecution Closing Arguments

The Prosecution presented their key legal arguments in the case against Mujahid. Prosecutor Afroz addressed a range of legal issues in conjunction Charges 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7. A written outline of the arguments was provided as reference for the Tribunal. The Defense counsel objected because the cover photograph of the outline showed numerous skulls. The Defense argued that such a picture is unnecessary, inappropriate and prejudicial. The Prosecution disagreed, claiming that there is nothing in the law or rules of procedure prohibiting such photographs. The judges agreed with the Prosecutor’s submission, adding that such a photograph will neither be detrimental nor advantageous to the case against the accused and will have no impact on the judicial process.

Prosecutor’s Arguments:
The Prosecution presented arguments on the following issues:

  1.  Legal argument on the absence of victims’ dead body.
  2. Legal argument on ‘extermination ‘ in contrast to ‘murder’.
  3. The doctrine of superior responsibility and how it has been established by the evidence admitted.
  4. Evaluation of documentary evidences and further evaluation of the charges.

The Actus Reus of Murder and Necessity of Victim’s Body as Evidence (relevant to Charges 1 and 5)
The Prosecution began by emphasizing that the bodies of the victims in Charges 1 and 5 were recovered. She argued that the actus reus, of murder requires that the Prosecution prove that the killing itself occurred. Where the body is not found or recovered the killing remains unproved, resulting in the failure of the Prosecution’s case. In this case, Prosecutor Afroz argued that the Defense cannot claim that the actus reus in Charges 1 and 5 has not been proven by reason of failure to find the body of the victims. Continue reading

7 May 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary –

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim – PW 18
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid  – Prosecution Closing Arguments   

 The Defense conducted the cross-examination of Prosecution Witness 18 Mostafizur Rahman, who completed his examination-in-chief yesterday in the cae of Abdul Alim a day earlier. The Defense highlighted contradictory statements between the witness’ courtroom testimony and his original statements to the Investigation Officer. Ultimately, the Defense alleged that the person giving testimony before the tribunal as Mostafizur is not the same person who gave statement to the Investigation Officer, and that the courtroom testimony is fabricated at the direction of the Prosecution.

After hearing the witness testimony in Alim’s case, the tribunal next heard the Prosecution’s Closing Arguments in the case against Ali Ahsan Muhammed Mujahid. The Prosecution began by outlining their arguments. A printed copy of the Structure/Outline of the prosecution summing up was submitted by the prosecution, which contained in its cover page the picture of a dog eating the dead body of an infant. The judges were critical of the use of the photo and stated that such pictures should not be included in the future as the judges are charged with evaluating the contents of the documents only. Such a photograph is therefore inappropriate and cover photo will not assist the court in any way and is also inappropriate.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Alim: Cross-Examination of Mostafizur Rahman
The Defense counsel then conducted the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 18 in the Alim case. They attempted to show the witness was not aware of the specific details of the incident, thereby undermining his testimony. They questioned his credibility both in terms of the evidence he provided regarding the incident and as to whether he is really Mostafizur Rahman. During cross-examination the witness admitted that Bazlar Rahman and Mahbubur Rahman are not brothers, but cousins. The witness denied that 26th May 1971 was a Tuesday and asserted that it was a Wednesday.

The Defense suggested that the witness had become a witness in many other cases. The witness denied this suggestion and stated that this is the first case in which he has appeared as a witness. The witness said that he does not know when in 1971 the Peace Committee was formed in Paanchbibi. He then also admitted that he did not know whether there were any Razakars in East Pakistan in May 1971.

However, despite the Defense’s questions and his lack of knowledge of these two groups he asserted that Alim was the head of the Razakars and the Peace Committee.

The witness then described the site of the alleged crime. He stated that his house is 9 or 10 km south from Jaipurhat. In 1971 bicycles and cow cart could be used along the roads there. He stated that Kli Shaha’s pond (where the killing of his father allegedly took place) is quite big. There is a rail line in the west of the pond and no houses in between. He again asserted that many had been buried therein. He stated that there was one house to the South of the pond where Kamal lived, unmarried. On the east of the pond, there was a road that was not used.

The witness stated that many in his village supported independence, but he did not know if there were any against it. He stated that Abul Kashem Sarder’s house is next to his house and that his children are living, but his brothers are deceased. He said that he does not know whether the other villagers knew that Kashem supported liberation, but he asserted that he knew that Kashem was in his side. He stated that he does not know who the local Chairman of the Peace Committee was in 1971.

Finally, the defense suggested that he did not give the original statement to the Investigating Officer. They alleged that he is posing as Mostafizur Rahman and that someone else gave the original statement. They accused him of presenting false evidence in support of mala fide prosecution.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Mujahid:

Prosecution Closing Arguments
Prosecutor Moklesur Rahman Badol began Closing Arguments with an of the Prosecution’s case against the Mujahid. He announced that they would first provide historical background and a detailed profile of Mujahid before discussing each of the charges and the defendant’s liability under the ICT Act.

Historical background relevant to the case
The Prosecution made a statement regarding the numerous sacrifices of freedom fighters and the nation as a whole. He discussed at length the history of Bangladesh’s struggle fo independence. He briefly referred to the general election of 1970, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s historic speech on 7th March, the killings carried out during Operation Search Light by the Pakistani Military on 25th March and the nine months of war that finally led to victory on 16th December.  The Tribunal at one point interjected to ask that the Prosecution not repeat the historical aspects in detail as it had already given its observation on the historical aspect of the cases in two of its previous judgments.

Profile of the Accused
The Prosecution presented a profile of Mujahid, including his family background, academic background and political career. They stated that Mujahid comes from a family of Jamaat-e-Islami supporters and that his father was also a political figure in Jamaat-e-Islami. Mujahid finished his Secondary School Certificate examination in the year 1964 and his Higher Secondary Certificate examination in the year 1966. He became active in politics during his under-graduation and was the Chairman of Faridpur district’s Islami Chatra Shangho (ICS), the then student wing of Jamaat-e-Islam, from 1968 until 1970. He graduated in the year 1970 and continued to serve in ICS’s Dhaka unit from January to July 1971. He was then elevated to General Secretary of ICS’s East Pakistan Unit in July 1971, before being appointed as its President in October. The Prosecution alleged that Mujahid went into hiding after the end of the war and only returned to politics of Jamaat-e-Islam Bangladesh long after the drastic political change following the assassination of the Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujib in 1975. He was never elected in any Parliamentary Election but nevertheless served as a Minister from 2001-2006 as a ‘Decorum Minister’ during the Four-party alliance government.

Pro-active role of the accused
The Prosecution submitted that the Jamaat party was effectively a terrorist organization during the War of Liberation. It formed and operated a killing squad called Al-Badr, that was mainly comprised of leaders and activists of the Islami Chatra Shangho (ICS). The Prosecution alleges that Mujahid acted as the Chief of this force and therefore is  responsible for the torture, rape and murder perpetrated by Al-Badr members. The Tribunal interjected and asked how Mujahid’s superior position could be deduced. The Prosecution replied that the documentary evidence submitted illustrates his leadership role within the force. They referred to Exhibit 1 series, containing newspaper reports, the first being the Daily Azad’s issue from 11 December 1971, which reported a speech of by  Mujahid addressing a rally organized for Al-Badr forces. Additionally the Prosecution noted that Prosecution Witness 2, Zahir Uddin Jalal also testified that he threw a grenade in that rally after hearing the speech. The prosecution submitted that the defense did not dispute the contents of the reports.

The Prosecution claimed that Mujahid publically and pro-actively encouraged the masses to support the Pakistani Army and to resist pro-liberation forces. They stated that he travelled, attending various conferences and giving Anti-Indian speeches to calling for the prevention of the tactics of Indian agents, miscreants and enemies of Pakistan. On 17 October 1971, he attended a conference in Rangpur and proposed that no one other than ICS members should be allowed to join Al-Badr forces. He then went to Bogura on 23 October, Magura on 24 October, and came back to Dhaka on 25 October 1971, attending campaigns and conferences designed to inspire Jamaat party supporters through Anti-Indian speeches and urging them to actively defend the unity of Pakistan against domestic and international forces. The Prosecution stated that Exhibits-17 and 18 support these allegations.

The Prosecution argued that Mujahid exercised top-tier authority over the Al-Badr auxiliary force. They claimed that Mujahid and others used cars and jeeps to patrol his region, even during curfews. They claimed that ICS became synonymous with the Al-Badr forces. They noted that Mujahid had made statements that books written by Hindu writers should be destroyed and the following day the library was burned. In a speech delivered on 7 November 1971, Mujahid made statements against India even though India had not formally intervened at that point. The Prosecution alleged that the term ‘India’ in that context was a euphemism for any person who supported an independent Bangladesh. The Prosecution referred to Exhibits 1 and 2 as containing supporting documents. Quoting from the book Al-Badr, the {rosecution counsel stated that even on 16th December 1971 Mujahid remained adamant about his position. In his speech as the ‘Nezam’ (urdu for Chairman/Head), he expressed his dissatisfaction with the surrender of the Pakistani Army, stating that they should have given the weapons to Al-Badr instead of surrendering them to enemy forces. The Prosecution asserted that Mujahid urged all the Al-Badr members present at that meeting to continue the mission and to spread out for ‘Hijra’ (migration in Islam). They concluded that all these facts specifically illustrate the stance and position Mujahid within Al-Badr and his role during 1971.

The Tribunal noted that it has already delivered its findings regarding the status and role of Al-Badr and would not deviate from the same save for minor matters without a differing decision from the high court.

The Prosecution then concluded for the day.

Weekly Digest, Issue 12: April 7-11

This week Tribunal 1 continued to hear the Defence’s Closing Arguments in the Gholam Azam case. The Defence concluded their coverage of Charges 3 and 4, and requested one additional day to complete their arguments. The Defence however did not attend proceedings during hartal days. In the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case the Tribunal heard the testimony of Prosecution witness 25. Additionally, the Prosecution submitted the Formal Charges against Mubarak Hossain and both Parties submitted their arguments regarding the impending of indictment of Hossain.

In Tribunal 2 the Defence for Ali Ahsan Mohadded Mujahid began their cross-examination of Prosecution witness 17, the Investigation Officer. The case of Kamaruzzaman was repeatedly scheduled for the Defence’s Closing Arguments. However, the Senior Defence counsel did not attend on hartal days and therefore the case was adjourned until the following week. In the case against Abdul Alim the Prosecution conducted the examination-in-chief of Prosecution witnesses 14 and 15.

It should be noted that hartals were called for the 8, 9, 10, and 11th of April. Due to security concerns our researchers are unable to attend proceedings on hartal days. Therefore our coverage of those days is compiled from media sources as well as discussion with the Defence and Prosecution.

The full report of this week’s proceedings can be read here: Weekly Digest, Issue 12 – April 7-11

Weekly Digest Issue 11: March 31- April 4

The full report of this week’s proceedings can be read here: Weekly Digest, Issue 11 – March 31- April 4

This week Tribunal 1 dealt with the Motiur Rahman Nizami, Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, and Gholam Azam cases. In the case against Nizami the Defence cross-examined Prosecution witness 3, Rustom Ali Mollah. In the case against Salauddin Qader Chowdhury the Tribunal heard both the examination-in-chief and cross-examination of Prosecution witness 24, Babul Chakraborty. Gholam Azam’s Defence counsel continued their Defence Closing Arguments, addressing the conspiracy allegations under Charge 1, as well as legal arguments on incitement. Proceedings were delayed by hartals and the absence of Defense counsel.

In Tribunal 2, the Court heard the Prosecution’s Closing Arguments in the Kamaruzzaman case, during which they addressed evidentiary issues including hearsay, and legal arguments about the standard of complicity and under the doctrine of Superior Responsibility. Due to the hartal on 2 April, ICT 2 convened only briefly to allow the Prosecution to complete their examination-in-chief of the Investigation Officer in the Mujahid case. On 3rd April the Defence began its presentation of Closing Arguments in the Kamaruzzaman case, addressing factual issues in Charges 1-3 and responding to the legal issues raised by the Prosecution during their Closing Arguments.

The full report of this week’s proceedings can be read here: Weekly Digest, Issue 11 – March 31- April 4

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

22 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Mujahid Cross-Examination of PW 17, Investigation Officer

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid – Cross-Examination of Prosecution witness 17, Investigation Officer.

The Defense continued their cross-examination of prosecution witness 17, Investigation Officer Abdur Razzaq. At at the end of yesterday’s session the Tribunal instructed Defense to conclude their cross-examination of the Investigation Officer today, 22nd April, 2013.

The Defense asked the witness about the investigation procedure, his findings regarding Mujahid’s position within the Islami Chatra Shangho, the presence of Mujahid’s name in any of documentary evidence, and Mujahid’s alleged whereabouts after the war.

The witness said that his investigation showed that Mujahid went on to hiding after the war, but did not leave Bangladesh. He hid at his maternal uncle’s house. The witness also said that Mujahid separated himself from all forms of political affiliation until the political transformation in 1975 after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The witness admitted said that Mujahid’s name is not found among the lists naming Rajakars, Al-Badrs, Al-Shams or Peace Committee members that have been submitted into evidence. However, he reiterated that his investigation revealed that the accused was the President of the East Pakistan Islami Chatra Shongho beginning in October  and continuing until 16th December 1971. Therefore he asserted that Mujahid had participated in Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide as an Al-Badr Commander.

Administrative Matters
The Tribunal granted the Defense’s request for privileged communication with their client and stated they would allow two designated Defense counsel to visit Mujhaid in prison on 28 April 2013. The Tribunal also stated that the Prosecution should be prepared to begin their Closing Arguments if the Defense fails to produce their witnesses. They reiterated that delay of the trial process would not be allowed.

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