Monday, January 16, 2012

2 Jan 2012: Mizanul cross exam day 2

This hearing involved the second day of the cross examination of Mostafa Howlader, the eighth witness who had given evidence against Delwar Hossain Sayedee. Mizanul Islam asked questions for the defence.

Cross-examination day 1

Below is an unofficial translation of the cross-examination. (Notes and translation undertaken by Onchita Shadman. Every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, but there may be some small omissions.) 
Defence: When did you meet investigation officer (IO), Helal?

Witness: In Parerhat Bazaar at around 10:30.

Defence: When did you arrive at the Bazaar?

Witness: I came by 6 am. I have a shop in the Bazaar.

Defence: Did you know in advance that Mr. Helal would be coming?

Witness: No.

Defence: Did he come to your shop?

Witness: No.

Defence: Did you know him beforehand?

Witness: No.

Defence: When did you come to know that IO’s name is Helaluddin?

Nizamul Haque: Mr Islam, please give him an example (after witness struggled to understand the question).

Defence: After you had been to Manik Poshari’s place, you came to know?

Witness: Yes. We have seen him with the (seized) goods and camera at Manik Poshari’s place.

Defence: Did you go to Manik Poshari’s house voluntarily?

Witness: Yes

Defence: When did you reach his house?

Witness: at 11 am.

Defence: Who did you see over there?

Witness: IO, journalists, witnesses.

Defence: Name them.

Witness: Mokhles Poshari, Ayub Ali, Manik Poshari, Manik Howlader, Sultan Ahmed Howlader, Mofiz Poshari and many others.

Defence: How long did you stay for?

Witness: until 1-1:30 pm.

Defence: Once you were there at 11am, what was the first thing you did?

Witness: I stood and watched.

Defence: Did Mr Helal ask you anything?

Witness: He was questioning somebody.

Defence: When did he question you?

Witness: at around 12:30/1pm

Defence: How long did it take to give your statement?

Witness: I guess 10-15 minutes.

Defence: Was your testimony recorded on video?

Witness: Yes

Defence: After your statement had been recorded, you returned to the shop.

Witness: No

Defence: You were there till 1:30

Witness: I signed the seizure list…
At this point, Prosecutors asked not to interrupt the witness while he is answering the previous question. Next question should be asked only after answer to the previous has been recorded.

Defence: So you signed the seizure list.

Witness: I signed after the seized items-burnt tin and beam- had been kept in custody of Manik Poshari and Mahbub.

Defence: How long after giving your testimony did you sign?

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: Take a guess.
Chief Prosecutor objects saying that the the previous answer should be recorded first. Nizamul Haque said that this objection was not necessary. Chief Prosecutor said that the Defense should not interrupt the witness while he was answering.

Defence: When did you return to the shop?

Witness: Half an hour after signing the statement, I returned to the shop

Defence: You went home after keeping shop for whole day?

Witness: No I stayed (slept) in the shop that night.

Defence: You are literate. You know how to read, right?

Witness: No, not much.

Defence: First you said no and then not much!

Witness: I know my signature.

Defence: You had shown Mr Helal the evidence (used the word alamot in Bangla) that were seized from Manik Poshari’s house.
Prosecution objects saying alamot (evidence) is a technical term.

The defence lawyer said that they feel embarrassed when the prosecution interrupts like this. The prosecutor says this is nothing to feel embarrassed about and the defence lawyer should clarify the question to the witness. The defence lawyer then claimed that the prosecutors were giving hints to the witness. The prosecutor asked the defence lawyer why he does not give witness a moment to answer after the counsel had asked him a question.

Justice Zaheer then said that 'If your witness doesn’t understand what alamot is, what did he sign on (referring to seizure list)? If he doesn’t understand the term, he can ask us. If you interrupt, we lose track of the questions.; In reply to Prosecution’s objection that the defense was asking leading questions, Zaheer said that 'Cross-examination consists of leading queries. That’s the international, as well as domestic system.'

Witness: I didn’t show evidence to the IO.

Defence: Do you know that Alamgir Poshari’s mother’s name is Rabeya Khatun?

Witness: No.

Defence: You’d signed a seizure list that day at Manik Poshari’s house.

Witness: beam, door-frame, tin

Defence: Were anything else seized apart from the ones at Manik Poshari’s house?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Were those goods kept in custody in your presence?

Witness: No.

Defence: Let me name a few people. Abdur Razzak, Delwar Hossain, Abdul Taher Howlader, Mosammat Setara Begum, Rani, Md Ali, Makbul Shikder from Baroikhali Thana. They are the witnesses of Ibrahim Kutti’s and Shaheb Ali alias Siraj’s murders. Do you know them?

Witness: No, I am not aware of that.

Defence: You are also aware that on 1.10.1971, Ibrahim Kutti and Shaheb Ali alias Siraj were grabbed from Shaheb Ali’s home and killed.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Let me mention some names. Danesh Molla, Chairman of Parerhat Union and son of late Naimuddin; Atahar Ali Howlader, son of late Ainuddin Howlader of Baroikhali; Asrab Ali, son of late Asmat Ali of Tengrakhali; Abdul Mannan Howlader, son of late Hashem Ali Howlader of Baroikhali; Ayub Ali, son of late Arob Ali; Kalam Choukidar, son of Abdus Sobhan; Ruhul Amin, son of Anwar Hossain; Abdul Hakim Munshi, son of Momin-al Munshi of Baroikhali; Mominuddin, son of Abdul Goni of Gazipur; Sekander Ali Shikder, son of Monsur Ali Shikder of Hoglabunia; Shamsur Rahman, ASI of Pirojpur Police Station at that time; Moslem Maulana, son of Modasser Gazi of Badura. These people had killed Ibrahim Kutti and his brother in law, Shaheb Ali Siraj with the help of Pakistani army.

Witness: I don’t know all of them, but for Danesh Molla, Moslem Maulana, Sekander Shikder, Ruhul Amin. I’d heard of Abdul Hakim Munshi but didn’t know him.

Defence: The twelve people whom I’ve mentioned had grabbed Ibrahim Kutti and his brother in law, Shaheb Ali on 1st October, 1971 and killed them.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: You know that Ibrahim Kutti’s wife Momtaz Begum had filed a murder case of her husband and brother at Pirojpur court.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: You also know that few people had been arrested in regards to that case.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Police had prepared a charge sheet of this case after investigation.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: You know that your description of how Ibrahim alias Kutti was grabbed from Manik Poshari’s house and killed is a lie, and even then you have given a false testimony.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: In 1971, throughout the entire year, you’d sold Chola-Muri (a snack mix made of cooked chickpeas and puffed rice) in Parerhat. You were familiar with the Razakars from that area.

Witness: I didn’t know all the Razakars, but knew few of them.

Defence: Did you know Razakar Delwar Hossain Mallick?

Witness: There wasn’t anyone of that name around.

Defence: There was a Razakar named Delwar Shikder, son of Rasul Shikder. Did you know him?

Witness: No. I don’t know whether anyone of that name existed.

Defence: Did you know Razakar Abdur Razzak?

Witness: I knew.

Defence: Your home is in Parerhat?

Witness: In Parerhat Bazaar.

Defence: You’d mentioned a bridge.

Witness: Which one? There are two bridges.

Defence: The bridge on which you’d stood and watched smoke. Which way is it from your house?

Witness: Towards west.

Justice Zaheer: He didn’t see (smoke) from the bridge but from the side of the camp.

Defence: How far is Noor Khan’s house from the place where you’d stood to watch smoke?

Witness: Its towards east from where I was standing; 100-150 gauze from the bank of the canal.

Defence: There was a huge banana orchard in between his (Noor Khan’s) house and the bank of the canal.

Witness: There wasn’t.

Defence: Manik Poshari had filed a case in Pirojpur court regarding the incident about which you have testified in court today and yesterday.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Before that did ASI of Pirojpur Police Station, either Ajim Howlader or Noor Mohammad, visit you?

Witness: Noor Mohammad had handled a case, concerning which I’d testified in court before the Judicial Magistrate.

Defence: You had testified for that case before the magistrate along with Manik Poshari, Ayub Ali, Mofiz Poshari, Bashudeb Mistiri, Mokhles Poshari and Haripad Shikder.

Witness: Yes. We had made witness statements under section 164.

Defence: You and those who I have mentioned before signed the statements.

Witness: yes.

Defence: The date was 23.3.2010.

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence:In that statement, did you mention arson at Selim Khan’s house and plunder in the Bazaar?

Witness: Yes.

Justice Zaheer: Is Selim Khan Noor Khan’s son?

MI : Yes.

Justice Zaheer directs to record Noor Khan’s name instead of Selim Khan in the previous question.

Defence: Did you mention that you’d witnessed Ibrahim Kutti’s murder?

Witness: Don’t remember.

Defence: You’d given an interview on TV as regards to that case.

Witness: No

Defence: Did you appear in any TV interview as regards to the case for which you’re testifying today?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: You know that a ‘people’s court’ had been established in 1992 and a ‘people’s enquiry commission’ in 1994 to try these war criminals.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Have you testified against Delwar Hossain Sayedee except for these three occasions- before the judicial magistrate, before the IO Helaluddin, and today in the tribunal?

Witness: No.

Defence: You haven’t even made any statement against Delwar Hossain Sayedee (except for those three instances)?

Witness: No

Defence: Did you mention of 52 Pakistani soldiers arriving on 26 Rickshaws in your statement made before the magistrate under section 164?

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: On each day of the week before 7th May, 1971 you sold Chola-Muri (a snack mix made of cooked chickpeas and puffed rice) in Parerhat Bazaar. You went there in the morning to stay until evening.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: At that time you also went to the Razakar camp to sell Chola-Muri.

Witness: I was too scared to go.

Defence: On 4th and 5th May Sayedee wasn’t around Parerhat area. He was in a different part of Pirojpur.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Have you seen him on these two days?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: What have you seen him doing?

Witness: Selling oil, salt etc.

Defence: He had done that on those two days (5th, 6th May)?

Witness: No, earlier. He was at the office (Razakar office) on those two days.

Defence: Since when did you know Sayedee prior to 1971?

Witness: since 2-3 years beforehand.

Defence: Before that you didn’t know him and where his house was?

Witness: How would I!

Defence: You went to school.

Witness: Went to primary school.

Justice Zaheer: This has been asked yesterday.

Defence: This need not be recorded. I just wanted to confirm

Defence: Did you know that Sayedee had studied in a Madrasa?

Witness: No.

Justice Zaheer: He said he didn’t know him two years before 1971.

Defence: You’ve said that he started using the name ‘Sayedee’ 15 years ago. What name did he use before that-in school, college, passport?

Witness: Delwar Shikder.

Defence: (to judges) Should I ask this question my lord, “from whom did he know?”

Justice Zaheer: not necessary.

Defence: After 1971 and before the election of 1996, you haven’t seen Sayedee in Pirojpur and Parerhat.

Witness: I can’t remember whether I have seen or not.

Defence: (to judges) My lord I’d like to show exhibit 5.

Justice Zaheer: Go on.

Defence: Look at your signature on page 3 and 4. There’s your signature on four photos. On what day, at what time did you sign those?

Witness: This is me being a witness to the evidence from Poshari’s house. I signed on those while signing on the seizure list.

Defence: Did you sign while evidences were seized from Manik Poshari’s house?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Is Abdul Majid Mustafa your brother?

Witness: Majid is my brother.

Defence: Majid’s wife had filed a case under section 326 in which she’d accused you of attacking her family. You’d been jailed in that case.

Witness: I didn’t go to jail. I was discharged.

Defence: You’d been discharged only after a settlement within the family.

Witness: Not true, I was discharged from court.

Defence: You’ve married four times.

Witness: No.

Defence: Your first wife’s name is Rahela Begum, daughter of Tarek Molla, from Sariktola, Pirojpur.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Another wife’s name is Hasina, daughter of Abdul Kader.

Witness: She is my first wife.

Defence: There was a case and you had separated.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Later on you married another lady called Hasina from Pannadubi and you are still together.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: You married daughter of Abed Ali from Baroikhali village; the marriage had broken up afterwards.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Who is the petitioner of the case for which you are a witness today?

Witness: Manik Poshari.

Defence: Do you know the rickshaw pullers of those 52 rickshaws?

Witness: No.

Defence: You had sold Chola-Muri there (at rickshaw stand) during the war.

Witness: I sold around the whole Bazaar.

Defence: Did you do so after the war?

Witness: Yes, even two-three years after the war.

Defence: In that lengthy period, did you get to know any of those rickshaw pullers?

Witness: no

Defence: Did they arrive from a foreign land or West Pakistan?

Witness: They were natives.

Defence: Have you ever sold Chola-Muri in the military camp?

Witness: I was too scared to walk on that street.

Defence: From how far did count the rickshaws carrying the army?

Witness: From the stand.

Defence: Did you count the no. of militaries one by one?

Witness: By 26 rickshaws, 52 soldiers had come. Each rickshaw carried two.

Defence: These rickshaws were one after another.

Witness: From Pirojpur they had come in a row.

Defence: It took some time to count the rickshaws and the soldiers.

Witness: I can’t remember that.

Defence: You accompanied the army and military to wherever they went. You were in their band.

Witness: No.

Defence: Were you given any responsibility?

Chairman: Ask questions with date. [defence lawyer then skipped to next question]

Defence: Were you aware in advance of the events that had happened on 7th May?

Witness: How can I know in advance! (‘not true’ on record)

Defence: Did anyone send you to observe the events on 7th and 8th?

Witness: No

Defence: How did you become acquainted with these people you’ve mentioned: Shaizuddin, Raizuddin, Mofizuddin, Ibrahim Kutti and Noor Khan?

Witness: They were all from the same area. I was from a different area.

Defence: How do you know them?

Witness: I’ve met them in the bazaar.

Defence: You’d been enlisted as a voter during caretaker government’s rule in 2008.

Witness: yes.

Defence: You’ve voted in the election held in 2008?

Witness: yes.

Defence: Your photo and signature had been taken for the voter ID card.

Witness: yes.

Defence: Did you give thumb print?

Witness: I don’t remember

Defence: You’ve mentioned your age in there.

Witness: I don’t remember

Defence: When the voter list was being made, you’d collected your birth certificate from the Union on 8.3.2000 in order to show a reduced age (on the voter card).

Witness: My name was already enlisted.

Defence: In your birth certificate and voter list, your birthday is given as 5.12.1957

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Based on that date, you were thirteen age old during the liberation war. Since this shows that you were a child at that time, you are denying deliberately.

Witness: not true.

Justice Zaheer: He said he was 16 at that time. So was a minor anyway.

Defence: Did you know Khalil Moulovi?

Witness: He had an optician shop

Defence: During the liberation, were you or your family affected or injured.

Witness: Razakars took our cattle and chickens.

Defence: You have never mentioned before that the Razakars had taken your cattle and chickens, and this statement is a lie.

Witness: not true.
Adjourned for lunch

Defence: You support Awami League?

Witness: Yes

Defence: Manik Poshari also supports Awami League.

Witness: Yes

Defence: Does Moslem Maulana support Awami League?

Witness: No.

Defence: When you went to Manik Poshari’s house in 1971 (after arson), did you see the stable?

Witness: There wasn’t any (left)

Defence: Did you see the cows and buffaloes?

Witness: I had seen on the island.

Defence: Did you see those in their house?

Witness: no.

Defence: Did you meet the neighbours when you went to that house?

Witness: I haven’t noticed any house closely adjacent to Manik Poshari’s

Defence: Did you see Mofiz Poshari’s house?

Witness: I had seen his house. It was desolate.

Defence: Did you enter into the house?

Witness: no.

Defence: Did you speak to anyone living there?

Witness: no one was there.

Defence: Had that house been plundered?

Witness: No.

Defence: Did Razakars and army visit Mofiz’s house on the very day you’d been there?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: After having been in Mofiz’s house, you’ve heard from other people.

Witness: On the day of the arson, I’ve heard from people. Next day, I had seen that many had their houses and roofs burnt down

Defence: Who else went there to watch?

Witness: There were locals, but also others from different localities.

Defence: Can you name them?

Witness: no

Defence: The petitioner for whose case you’ve come to give your testimony, didn’t make you a witness of the case.

Witness: not true.

Defence: How many times did you visit Dhaka as a witness of this case?

Witness: Twice.

Defence: Who pays for your meals?

Justice NH: We have given direction according to the Protection Act. Prosecution will look after their witnesses, defense will look after theirs.

Defence: How did you learn that you have to give your statement to this Investigation Officer (IO).

Witness: I have given statement voluntarily.

Defence: Delwar Shikder, whom you’ve mentioned, was killed by freedom fighter Abed Ali after liberation.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Do you know Suhrawardy College in Pirojpur?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Chila Shikder’s house is by the College Road. Razakar Delwar Shikder is also from the same house.

Witness: It’s not true that this Delwar Shikder is the one I’d mentioned.

Defence: Do you know Enayat Shikder who also comes from the same house (family)?

Witness: no.

Defence: This family of Razakar Delwar Shikder is renowned in that region and you are giving false statement saying you don’t know them.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Delwar Shikder and Delwar Hossain Sayedee are different people.

Witness: I know Delwar Shikder who happens to be Sayedee; I don’t know any Delwar Shikder from College Road.
Prosecution objects to recording the above answer as ‘not true’ and urges that the witness’s answer be recorded as it is.

Tajul Islam from defense says that they have put forward a suggestion and the answer of the witness will be recorded according to that viewpoint. “He denied our suggestion that they are different people.”

Prosecution says he didn’t say whether they are different or same people. He said that he only knows Sayedee as Delwar Shikder.

Defence: You’ve never mentioned in the past, before saying it in this tribunal, that Delwar Hossain Sayedee is Delwar Shikder.

Witness: I mentioned.

Defence: You have immorally associated and mentioned Delwar Hossain Sayedee in place of late Delwar Shikder.

Witness: not true.

Defence: Since accounts you described in the court are not true, you have hidden these for 40 years.

Witness: [Not clear what was answer].

Defence [Not clear what was question]

Witness: He was abducted by the Razakars on the previous day. I don’t know where he’d fled.
Monjur Ahmed Ansari took over for the defence

Defence: You didn’t mention the date ‘7 May’ in your statement made before the investigation officer (IO).

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: You haven’t mentioned (to the IO) that 52 Pakistani soldiers had come by 26 rickshaws.

Witness: I don’t remember

Defence: You didn’t mention that Delwar Hossain Sayedee, Danesh Molla, Moslem Maulana and Sekander Shikder had identified houses of the Hindus.

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: You didn’t mention that, after Delwar Hossain Sayedee had entered into the Bazaar and had identified houses of the Hindus, looting commenced at command of the army.

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: You haven’t mentioned to the IO that, Delwar Hossain Sayedee and others finished looting and returned to the army camp in Rajlaxmi School 2-3 hours later. After them, members of the Peace Committee started plundering in full force.

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: You haven’t mentioned to the IO that, Mofizuddin looked after the buffaloes in Raizuddin and Shahiduddin’s house, and that he and Ibrahim Kutti were tied with the same rope.

Witness: I mentioned.

Defence: You didn’t mention to the IO that, Kutti was kicked into the canal.

Witness: I did.

Defence: Selling Chola-Muri in Parerhat Bazaar in 1971; arrival of 52 Pakistani soldiers on 26 rickshaws; people waiting for the army; identifying and looting houses of the Hindus and Awami League members are false accounts in your statement.

Witness: I told the truth.

Defence: You have made false statement that Delwar Hossain Sayedee, along with the army and 30-35 Razakars went to the village of Badura and identified Noor Khan’s house.

Witness: not true.

Defence: It’s a lie that you’ve seen Noor Khan’s house being set on fire from across the canal.

Witness: not true.

Defence: Setting Shahizuddin Poshari’s three residential rooms, a living/guestroom, and a granary on fire; grabbing Mofiz Poshari and Kutti to tie them up with the same rope; shooting Mofiz at the end of the bridge and throwing his body into the canal are false accounts in your statement.

Witness: not true

Defence: South of the rickshaw stand, is a small canal.

Witness: yes.

Defence: There’s a Kali Mandir (temple) south of the small canal.

Witness: Yes

Defence: Whose house is on the southern side of the temple?

Witness: Goni Gazi’s

Defence: Since you support Awami League, on advice of your local lawmaker you have made false statement in a false case to defame Allama Delwar Hossain Sayedee and to take benefit immorally.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Delwar Hossain Sayedee wasn’t in Parerhat from since the war broke out until mid-July.

Witness: He was there during the chaos.

Defence: You didn’t sell Chola-Muri in Parerhat Bazaar. You were a child and too young to have a job.

Witness: I had a job.

No comments:

Post a Comment