Sunday, January 15, 2012

29 Dec 2011: Mofiz cross exam day 1

Following the examination-in-chief of Mofiz Uddin Poshari, the seventh witness to give evidence against Sayedee, the defence started its cross examination. The defence lawyer, Mizanul Islam started to ask the questions.

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: Did you fight in the liberation war?

Witness: No.

Defence: Despite not being a freedom fighter, you have lobbied with your current lawmaker Auwal Saheb to enlist you as a freedom fighter.

Witness: During my stay in Sundarban I had helped the freedom fighters in various ways. I carried out their chores including cutting vegetables. That’s why I’d applied to enlist myself as a freedom fighter.

Defence: When did you return after independence?

Witness: 7-8 days after Pirojpur was liberated.

Defence: Did Auwal Saheb come before you or after?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Who was in charge of the area in Sundarban where you had stayed?

Witness: Zia Bhai (Major Ziauddin).

Defence: Did you go to his room?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: After your arrival, he arrived in Pirojpur.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Did you visit the Muktijodhdha (freedom fighter’s) camp after your return from Sundarban?

Witness: No.

Defence: Who was the leader of freedom fighters in Parerhat?

Witness: Zia Bhai (Major Ziauddin).

Defence: Name a few other eminent freedom fighters from there.

Witness: I’d seen Selim Khan and Amzad Hossain Gazi in Parerhat.

Defence: You didn’t see the place where local Razakars were kept after independence.

Witness: No.
A verbal altercation took place between defence lawyer Tajul Islam and prosecutor Sayedur Rahman.

Defence: Did you hear where these local Razakars were kept?

Witness: No.

Defence: Have you heard of Razakar Delwar Hossain Mallick?

Witness: I haven’t seen or heard of him.

Defence: Did you come to your own house right after returning to the village?

Witness: Yes. Manik Poshari’s and my house are in the same locality.

Defence: Your house was not harmed during the liberation war.

Witness: It was.

Defence: How many rooms were there in your house?

Witness: 2-3 rooms.

Defence: You lived nearby Manik Poshari’s house and worked there.

Witness: Before independence.

Defence: Who lived in your house?

Witness: My family-wife and children lived in one room. In another room, my parents-in-law stayed. In the other third room, my sister-in-law and her husband lived.

Defence: That house belonged to your father-in-law.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Did Manik Poshari accompany you when you went to Sundarban?

Witness: No he didn’t go.

Defence: Who’d helped you to cross over to Sundarban? Who’d rowed the boat?

Witness: My father-in-law.

Defence: Did you travel by yourself on boat?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: When you’d returned after independence, in your presence Manik Poshari rebuilt a house in his burnt property.

Witness: When I came back, I saw a makeshift dwelling there.

Defence: Didn’t you want to file case against those who’d harmed you?

Witness: I wanted to but didn’t have the opportunity.

Defence: Why didn’t you get the opportunity? Did anyone prohibit you from doing so?

Witness: No one had prohibited. But I didn’t have money and people to support me.

Defence: Manik Poshari is your maternal cousin?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: They were very influential people at that time (1971).

Witness: They were well-off. People listened to them.

Defence: He had a cigarette factory.

Witness: No he had a bidi (a kind of hand made cigarette) factory.

Defence: Where was this bidi factory?

Witness: In Parerhat Port.

Defence: How old were you back then?

Witness: Around 32.

Defence: How long before independence have you seen this bidi factory?

Witness: almost 10 years.

Defence: Sekander Shikder was a partner of this bidi factory.

Witness: No. He didn’t do business with them (Poshari’s). He might have had his own.

Defence: Tendu leaf was used in this factory.

Witness: The bidis were made of leaves. I don’t know which leaves they’d used.

Defence: They brought this leaf from India.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: What did you do before taking up work at Shahizuddin’s house?

Witness: I did fishing-angling.

Defence: Did you go on boat and laid net for fishing?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: You caught fish from rivers, isn’t it?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: While you were fishing in Kocha River, Danesh Molla and Sekander Shikder had held you once in the guise of buying fish.

Witness: No.

Defence: Did Pakistani forces ever catch you before you were captured from Manik Poshari’s place with Kutti?

Witness: Once when I was fishing in the char (island), Danesh Molla called me and said he wanted to buy fish. I told him I have caught only a few for myself; I won’t sell these. Then he asked me to come to the shore. When I went there, Danesh Molla slapped me and said, “Why didn’t you listen to me when I’d called you. You know where Shahizuddin is.” I told him that I didn’t know. They asked me to inform about Shahizuddin whereabouts and activities. Razakar Razzak grabbed my basket and gave it to Danesh Molla.
There was an exchange between the defence and prosecution about the the witness now saying that he was 'caught' , when earlier he said that he was not caught. The witness said that he had said that 'Razakars had caught me, not the Pakistani army.' Haidder Ali, the prosecutor said, that the witness didn’t say he was caught and had only given description of the event.

Defence: At what time were you fishing?

Witness: Between 9-10am I guess.

Defence: Did you work in Shahizuddin’s house then?

Witness: Yes I looked after his cows.

Defence: When did you go and return with the herd of cows?

Witness: We used to set off from Manik Poshari’s house at 7 or 8am with cows and buffaloes. We took these to the char (island) and returned from there by 1 or 1:30 pm.

Defence: On 8 May, you were terrified and returned earlier.

Witness: Yes, after seeing fumes, we returned with the cattle.

Defence: Within an hour after you’d returned, the army caught you.

Witness: after coming back we were tying up the cows and buffaloes. The army caught us within 2-2.5 hours.

Hyder Ali: The witness is denying that he was caught within an hour of his return. The rest of the information about 2-2.5 hours is extra and should be cancelled from record.

Defence: What was the dress of the Razakars like when you were catching fish?

Witness: Khaki.

Defence: Where did Razzak hail from? Was he from your village?

Witness: I’ve heard that he was from Shangkarpasha

Defence: How long before your capture did Razzak get admitted in the Razakar force?

Witness: I don’t know.
Defence objects about murmur from prosecution. Sayedur Rahman (Prosecutor) says that he was consulting with his senior. Tajul Islam (Defense) says that he is consulting too loudly and everyone can hear him. 

Defence: When was Razakar force formed in Shangkarpasha?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: When was Peace Committee formed in Shangkarpasha?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Ekram Khalifa was the chairman of Peace Committee in Shangkarpasha village or union.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: The Razakar camp had been set up a few days before Danesh Molla slapped you.

Witness: I don’t know.
Adjourned for lunch

Defence: Did you know the house where Razakars had detain you?

Witness: It was not a house. It was a camp.

Defence: Did you know that building?

Witness: Yes

Defence: Can you name the owner of that house/camp?

Witness: No, I can’t remember.

Defence: There were houses and shops north of that house.

Witness: Delwar Chairman’s house was in the northern alley.

Defence: Was there house on the south?

Witness: There were rooms. I don’t know who owned those.

Defence: In which side was the canal?

Witness: Towards east.

Defence: What was on the west?

Witness: Shops.

Defence: Name a shopkeeper.

Witness: Nuru.

Defence: Is he alive?

Witness: No but his son is.

Defence: When did Raizuddin and Shahizuddin Poshari leave that area?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: No one but Manik Poshari remained to look after that house.

Witness: No.

Defence: Where did the rest of them go?

Witness: To the wood, Shapla in Sundarban.

Defence: They had house over there, in Shapla?

Witness: No they lived in boats.

Defence: Where did Raizuddin and Shahizuddin leave their women and children?

Witness: I don’t know where they lived and what they did.

Defence: What’s your maternal grandfather’s name?

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: Do you know name of Shahizuddin’s father?

Witness: Meher Chan.

Defence: Prior to 8th May, for how long had you been working in that house?

Witness: For two years before that date.

Defence: Ibrahim alias Kutti had joined before you.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: What was the job of the bodyguard like?

Witness: He (Ibrahim Kutti) used to shadow Shahizuddin Poshari and did his shopping.

Defence: Ibrahim Kutti and you hail from the same village.

Witness: Yes, but at a little distance.

Defence: Did you two sleep together at night in those days?

Witness: No I used to sleep in my house at night. My house was close by.

Defence: What’s the name of Ibrahim Kutti’s father?

Witness: Gofur Sheikh.

Defence: He had a brother.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Where was Ibrahim Kutti’s in-law’s village?

Witness: He’d mentioned of Nalbunia.

Defence: Have you seen or heard of Ibrahim Kutti’s brother-in-law Shaheb Ali alias Shiraj?

Witness: No.

Defence: Have you met Ibrahim Kutti’s wife Momtaz Begum?

Witness: No. He’d mentioned that he was married.

Defence: Have you heard that during the liberation war, Pakistani army had killed Shaheb Ali alias Shiraj in the village of Nalbunia?

Witness: No.

Defence: How far is Nalbunia from your locality?

Witness: 3-4 miles.

Defence: There were two brothers Atahar Ali and Azahar Ali in your village. One was a Razakar; the other was a freedom-fighter. Did you know them?

Witness: No

Defence: Were there any Razakar house (family) in your village?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Did you hear that after Bangladesh became an independent country, Razakars were detained and brought to justice.

Witness: I heard.

Defence: Did you hear that Razakar Razzak was killed amid public violence?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Did you hear that Razakars were sent to Sundarban to be killed?

Witness: No.

Defence: Even after independence Shahizuddin Poshari was an influential man.

Witness: He was well off but had less influence.

Defence: What was the dispute between Sekander Shikder and Shahizuddin Poshari?
Prosecution objects saying witness should be asked first whether there was a dispute at all. Sayedur Rahman and Tajul keep arguing between themselves, and the chairman of the tribunal said next time if we feel there is any disturbance the advocate will be asked to leave

Defence: Did Ibrahim Kutti have any children?

Witness: He said he had daughter, but didn’t say how many of them.

Defence: Do you know Abdur Razzak, Delwar Hossain, Taher Ali Howlader, Setara Begum, Ranu, Md Ali and Makbul Shikder?

Witness: No.

Defence: Did you know Razakar Asraf Ali, son of Asmat Ali from Tengrakhali village?

Witness: no.

Defence: Did you know Abdul Mannan Howlader, son of Late Hashem Ami Howlader from your village?

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: Did you know Ayub Ali, son of Late Aroj Ali from Parerhat?

Witness: No.

Defence: Did you know Razakar Kalam Choukidar, son of Abdus Sobahan?

Witness: No

Defence: Did you know Razakar Ruhul Amin, son of Anwar Hossain from Parerhat?

Witness: I don’t know him by his name. I may recognise when I see him.

Defence: Did you know Razakar Abdul Hakim Munshi, son of Momin-al Munshi from Baroikhali village?

Witness: No

Defence: Did you know Razakar Momin, son of Abdul Goni from Gazipiur?

Witness: I know Mobin, but don’t know his father’s name.

Defence: Did you know then ASI of Pirojpur station, Shamsur Rahman?

Witness: no.

Defence: I suggest that you knew Ibrahim Kutti’s brother-in-law Siraj.

Witness: not true.

Defence: You know that on 1/10/1971, Ibrahim Kutti and his brother-in-law were killed in Shaheb Ali’s house by the Pakistani military with help from its local collaborators, Razakars.

Witness: No

Defence: You also know that Shaheb Ali’s pregnant mother, Setara Begum was also captured at the same time.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Ibrahim Kutti’s wife Momtaz Begum had filed a case of Kutti and his brother-in-law Shaheb Ali alias Siraj’s murder and her mother Setara Begum’s violation on 1/10/1971. In her complaint, she had accused Pakistani army, Razakar Danesh Ali Molla, Razakar Sekander Shikder, Razakar Moslem Maulana, Atahar Ali Howlader, Razakar Abdul Hakim Munshi, Razakar Mominuddin, Razakar Ruhul Amin, Abdul Mannan Howlader, Razakar Kalam Choukidar, Ayub Ali, Razakar Asraf Ali and ASI Shamsur Rahman. The case filed in Pirojpur court was recorded as a FIR.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: The charge sheet of that case omitted Pakistani army from the list of accused and Delwar Hossain’s name was not there.

Witness: I don’t know

Defence: Did you know that Manik Poshari had filed a case? (he added “in Pirojpur court” after the witness answered)

Witness: Yes

Defence: Did you come to know before or after the case was filed?

Witness: After

Defence: After the case was filed Manik Poshari asked you to be a witness.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Then along with a policeman, Manik Poshari took you to the court as a witness.

Witness: I didn’t go to the court to testify.

Defence: I would like to have the permission to ask witness’s father’s name.

Justice Nizamul Haque: not allowed.

Defence: We have a defense document. (MI wanted to verify whether it is relevant to PW7)

Justice Nizamul Haque: You can ask, “whether this man is your father or not.”

Defence: Is late Moyezuddin, from the village of Badura, your father?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: ASI of Pirojpur Police Station, either Azim Howlader or Nur Mohammad had visited your house in regards to this case.

Witness: I don’t know. I wasn’t home.

Defence: These two policemen went to Manik Poshari’s house (after the witness had answered, MI asked to add “after the case had been filed” at the end of his question)

Witness: I don’t know. I wasn’t at home.

Defence: You didn’t testify in court for Manik Poshari’s case filed in Pirojpur court.

Witness: No.

Defence: In between the independence of 1971 and this tribunal, did you testify against Delwar Hossain Sayedee anywhere?

Witness: I had filed a complaint in court.

Defence: What happened to that complaint?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: In the past, you have never testified in today’s case.

Witness: Not true. I gave my statement to the investigation officer.

Justice Zaheer: Where?

Witness: In Pirojpur court.
Kafiluddin Chowdhury for the defence takes over the questions

Defence: Do you know Manik Poshari’s brothers, Jahangir Poshari, Alamgir Poshari, Kanchan Poshari?

Witness: Yes

Defence: All of them are younger than Alamgir Poshari?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Do you know Mahbub Poshari, son of Mannan Poshari?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: What the relationship between Mahbub Poshari and Manik Poshari?

Witness: Mahbub Poshari is Manik Poshari’s brother’s son.

Defence: Did Posharis have separate rooms in their house?

Witness: There were two sections. The brother lived in separate rooms.

Defence: Does anyone in Manik Poshari’s family have a certified degree?

Witness: No.

Defence: Were they involved in community work such as running schools or colleges?

Witness: They ran a Madrasa in Badura village, north of Manik Poshari’s house. Children study there.

Defence: What’s the name of that Madrasa?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Have you ever been to this Madrasa? Who are the teachers?

Witness: Yes I have been there. Abdul Goni teaches.

Defence: Who runs it now?

Witness: Manik Poshari and the villagers bear the expenses.

Defence: Did any member of Manik Poshari’s family take part in any election?

Witness: Shahizuddin ran for the office of ‘Member’. He was twice elected as a ‘Member’. Raizuddin was also a member. Once he ran for the office of ‘Chairman’.

Defence: Before he had filed the case in Pirojpur, did you tell Manik Poshari that you had been tortured?

Witness: He was already aware of that.

Defence: The houses that were torched belonged to Shahizuddin Poshari.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: He lived for many years after independence. Did he file any case while he was alive?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: After independence when you returned from Sundarban, did you lodge any complaint at the Muktijodhdha camp?

Witness: I did not go to the camp after independence.

Defence: What business did the Posharis have?

Witness: They had land, harvest and factory.

Defence: Didn’t they have many boats?

Witness: No.

Defence: Their family members were known as boatmen, “Naiya”

Witness: Shahizuddin’s father Meher Chan had fish trade.

Defence: They used those boats to smuggle goods from India.
At this point judges said that the Defense counsel should have asked this question to Manik Poshari with documents, but that they had not done so

Defence: Do you know Manik Poshari’s brother Malek?

Witness: Yes

Defence: Do you know retired military soldier of your area, Khalil?

Witness: No.
Judges omitted a question which suggested that Malek Poshari had robbed Khalil’s house.
Defence: You never had any property.

Witness: My father-in-law gave me some land.

Defence: What’s the name of your first wife and father-in-law?

Witness: Father-in-law’s name is Hashem Ali Akon and wife’s name Lutfa Begum.

Defence: You have sold that property in 1996.

Witness: 1 Katha of land from there.

Defence: Later on, you remarried.

Witness: Yes

Defence: Both of your wives live in the same room.

Witness: No, in separate rooms.

Defence: From first wife, you have 2 daughters and a son. From second wife, you have two sons and a daughter.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: You don’t have any job now.

Witness: No I have grown old.

Defence: Due to your poverty, your local lawmaker Auwal could coerce you into giving a false testimony.

Witness: not true.

Defence: He organised old-age pension for you after you agreed to be a witness against Delwar Hossain Sayedee.

Witness: The government is giving me the pension in accordance with my age.

Defence: You have started receiving the old-age pension after this case had been filed.

Witness: The chairman is giving it to me according to my age.

Defence: Since when do you receive old-age pension?

Witness: It’s been 2/3 months. After I have taken my card.

Defence: You have been enlisted as a freedom fighter after this case was filed.

Witness: I don’t know.

No comments:

Post a Comment