Sunday, February 26, 2012

25 Jan 2012: Solaiman cross examination

Prosecutor Haider Ali came to the dais and submitted an application in respect of witnesses relating to the trial against Delwar Hossain Sayedee. He said that the witnesses have given their attendance before the tribunal; however, they have subsequently become ill, and he was submitting an application for their temporary release.

Justice Zaheer said that this was a petition but the prosecution had not prayed anything. ‘These are simply some documents,’ he said.

Haider Ali responded by saying ‘I know my Lord. I am now submitting the prayer orally. If you look carefully, you shall find that the documents (medical evidence) are dated today.’

The Tribunal Chairman Justice Nassim agreed.

The witness took this oath and prosecutor Haider Ali explained him that the defence will cross examine him.

Mr Ali then informed the Tribunal that prosecution witness no. 10 Basu Deb Mistri had died

Defence counsel Mizanul Islam then continued the cross examination of prosecution witness 15 Md. Solaiman Hossain which they had just tarted the previous afternoon after he had given his statement. 
Defence: At the time when you came to know that Sayedee has addressed ‘Bangabondhu’ as ‘Jogbondhu’, were you involved in active politics then?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: You were the secretary of Thana Chatra League (student wing of Awami League), right?

Witness: No, I was the president.

Defence: I see. You became the General Secretary of Thana (organizational division, normally based on police station area) Awami League later on, is that true?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Julfikar Ali July is the current General Secretary of the Thana Awami League, right?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: How many religious or political meeting of Jamat-e-Islami you have attended from 2001 to 2006?

Witness: I have mentioned one earlier and that was the only one meeting I had attend.

Defence: Apart from that one, have not you attended any other meeting?

Witness: I have not got a scope to attend the same.

Defence: Well, can you please tell us how many meeting you have attended in 1971?

Justice Fazle Kabir explained him, “You have mentioned one, apart from that one”

Justice AKM Zaheer pointed to defence and said, “He has not said in his statement that he had attended the meeting. He said he was passing by and heard the same from the people present there.”

Witness: Yes, you are absolutely right, my Lord. I did not attend the meeting directly. The meeting took place near my house.

Defence: You were government service holder, right?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: In which year you joined government service?

Witness: in 1976.

Defence: And you retired in 1996, right?

Witness: No.

Justice Zaheer: Please clarify. You did not retire you said. What happened then? You resigned or something like that?

Witness: I just stopped going to office.

Defence: In 1996, you became an Awami League supported chairman candidate in the No. 7 Dolaghat Union Parishad Election under Bagarpara police station and you lost, is that true?

Witness: Yes, it is true.

Defence: At the same way, in 2007, you became an Awami League supported Mayor candidate in Bagarpara Pourashova Election and you lost, is that true as well?

Witness: True.

Defence: From 1981 to 1996 you were sent to jail twice, is that true?

Witness: Yes, in political cases.
Defence counsel Mizanul Islam then brought the matter to the attention of the Tribunal that an government service holder cannot go to the jail in political cases because for the government service holder there is complete restriction not to be involved with any political party. Justice Zaheer assured him that he could use it in future argument.

Defence: Have you applied for your pension?

Witness: No, I have not.

Defence: Is your pension proceeding pending?

Witness: I said I did not apply.

Defence: Now I am saying, as you were a government service holder from 1976 to 1996, there is no scope to file political cases against you. Basically, cases files against you due to your corruption in the government service, is that true?

Witness: No, it is not true.

Defence: Now I am saying, you have not got the pension, like all other government service holders get, just because there were cases against you the allegation that you did corruption during your service, is that true?

Witness: Not true.

Defence: After the meeting in 1971, did you try to know the identity of Delwar Hossain Sayedee?

Witness: I heard that he was a leader of Jamat-e-Islami or Islami Chatra Shongha (name of the student wing of Jamat-e-Islami then).

Defence: How he was introduced in that meeting in 1971 by the anchor before he delivered his speech?

Witness: I cannot remember that.

Defence: Did you make any enquiry about the fact that where was he from, what was his profession and where did he live?

Witness: No. I did not know him then.

Defence: You are not a freedom fighter, are you?

Witness: No, I am a freedom fighter.

Defence: Where did you fight?

Witness: I did not fight anywhere. I was in the camp of freedom fighters in India.

Defence: When did you go to India?

Witness: In June’1971.

Defence: When did you come back from India?

Witness: Before 16th December 1971.

Defence: What was the date?

Witness: I cannot remember the exact date.

Defence: Who told you that Mr Sayedee was staying at Mr Rawshan’s house?

Witness: Lot of people told me the same.

Defence: Name them please.

Witness: Delwar Molla, Tojammel Hossain, Hossain Molla, Julfikar Ali etc.

Defence: What was date then?

Witness: It was in the end of 1972.

Defence: You are from Jessore. There is a book titled ‘Muktijuddhe Jessore’ by Rokon-ud-Doullah. Have you heard about that?

Witness: No, I do not have any idea.

Defence: There is village named Ramkantpur under Bagmara police station (now upazilla), do know that?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Bagmara thana Awami League’s current general secretary Julfikar Ali July is from Ramkantpur, right?

Witness: He is basically from Paikpara. Later on he moved Ramkantpur.

Defence: Since when he is living at Ramkantpur?

Witness: He is living there for long time, about 30 years.

Defence: You have stated that Mr Sayedee took shelter at Mr Raushan’s house. Did you go to his house during 1971-1972?

Witness: No, I did not.

Defence: Khalilur Rahman, brother of said Raushan, was the ex-Mayor of Bagmara Paurashova immediately before the current Mayor, right?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: He is an Awami League leader right?

Witness: Not actually. He has joined Awami League recently.

Defence: So you know Mr Khalilur and Mr Raushan for long time, right?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: What is the name of father of Khalilur and Raushan?

Witness: Sufi Daud Hossain.

Defence: Can please tell us whether he was for or against the independence of Bangladesh?

Witness: I do not have any idea.

Defence: Did you hear the full speech of Delwar Hossain Sayedee in 2005/06?

Witness: No. I heard it partially.

Defence: How long you heard it approximately?

Witness: About 10/15/20 minutes.

Defence: Did you hear it until Raushan was brought to the stage?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Have heard about the ‘Oshohojog Andolon’ (Movement for Non-cooperation)?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: When did it happen?

Witness: After 7th March 1971.

Defence: Can you please tell us whether ‘the Kabuliwala Killing’ took place before or after 7th March 1971?

Witness: After 26th March 1971. In fact it would be wrong to term as ‘the Kabuliwala Killing’; it was an action of the war.

Defence: Do you know Jhumjhumpur? Behari’s used to live there.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: There was fight between Biharis and Bangalees in 1971, right?

Witness: Yes, after 26th March 1971.

Defence: In that fight a lot Biharis died, is that true?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: After that the Pakistani forces in the Jessore cantonment took the side of Biharis and started mass killing in whole Jessore, right?

Witness: Not really. Basically, it was a part of the national killing plan of Pakistan Army.

Defence: The Biharis also took part in the killing mission with the Pakistani Army, is that true?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: In the speech at Dohakola School field in 2005/06, Sayedee told that Raushal Ali gave him shelter- you have told that in your statement. Just after that, Sayedee told he was at Raushan place during the Kabuliwala killing, Jhumjhumpur killing, Movement for Non-cooperation called by the late Sheikh Muzibur Rahman, did you hear that? We have got that the audio recording in the CD. (He showed it)
Prosecution raised an objection on the allegation that showing the CD, defence is basically threatening the witness. The Judge agreed and then defence counsel Mizanul Islam begged pardon explaining that it was not his intention to threaten the witness.

Witness: I do not know that.

Defence: You said that you went to freedom fight in June’1971. Peace committee and rajakar force was formed before that, right?

Witness: Yes. However, I was not at my area then.

Defence: When did you leave your area?

Witness: Just after the war started, when the occupation force took over the control of Jessore, I went to the border area at my relative’s house.

Defence: In which month?

Witness: In April’1971.

Defence: Was there in residential area named ‘New Market’ in 1971?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Do you know Peer Shaheb (religious post) Sodoruddin of Mohirun?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Dohar Para is adjacent to Mohirun, right?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Raushan’s house was at Dohara Para, right?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: There is a bil (swamp land) at the southern side of Raushan’s house, is that true?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: At the western side, the houses of Rustam Molla, Korim Molla, Altaf Biswas, Abu Taher Biswas (who is the current Upazilla Chairman) is situated, right?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: In that area, the Bagarpara Madrasha’s Principal’s house is also situated, right?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: In the northern side, there is an empty block and then the house of Shuknal is situated, is that true?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: In the eastern side, the house Khalek Molla, Ikram Molla and Mojibur Molla’s house, right?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: You came to give your deposition before the Tribunal yesterday, did you receive any notice from the Tribunal in respect of the fact that you need to come to the Tribunal to do the same?
Justice Zaheer interrupted at this stage and asked defence counsel, “Mr Islam, we have already accepted him for this purpose- is that really necessary to ask that question?”

Defence counsel Mizanul Islam replied, “My Lord, I have not asked this question to any former witnesses. Therefore, I have got reasons to ask that and it is really necessary for fairness.”

Tribunal Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq then explained that in respect to the matters in this Tribunals ‘Notice to the Witness:’ is not issued in the ordinary manner like other criminal courts. The Tribunal send the ‘notice’ containing name and details of the witness to the ‘district administration’ and they send witness to Dhaka with the help of police. However, the local police station has been forbidden to keep any record of that.

Defence counsel Mizanul Islam then informed the Tribunal that he would then continue the cross examination for ‘contradiction’.

Defence: Is there anyone from Pirojpur among the people from whom you came to know about Sayedee?

Witness: No.

Defence: You said you are a freedom fighter. Did not you take any step after you had come to know that a person against the independence war staying at you locality?

Witness: I did not take any step. However, my brothers took initiatives. I was ill then.

Defence: Can please confirm us whether the Chief Investigation Officer Helal Uddin is present in the Tribunal or not?

Witness: Yes, here is he.

Defence: When did you meet him for the first time?

Witness: In July 2010 when he went to our area for investigation.

Defence: Was there any advertisement/announcement through loud speaker that deposition against Sayedee will be taken after Mr Helal Uddin had gone to your area?

Witness: I cannot remember. However, Chairman, Members of the Union Porishod; Upazilla Porishod Authority and people from police station informed us about that.

Defence: Where did they suggest you to go?

Witness: At Upazilla Porishod.

Defence: Were Tojammel Hossain, Hossain Ali with you then?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Do you know that Gono Adalot (People’s Tribunal) was formed in 1992 to try the war criminals of 1971?

Witness: I saw the news about that in the newspaper.

Defence: Do you have any idea about the Gono Todonto Commission (Mass Investigation Commission) formed in 1994 headed by Jahanara Imam and other people from civil society?

Witness: I cannot remember.

Defence: Dr. Anisul Hassan who is popularly known as M. A. Hassan took initiatives for indentifying the war criminals. Do you have any idea about that?

Witness: No.

Defence: Before giving deposition before the CIO Helal Uddin, you have not give any deposition or make any complain against the accused Delwar Hossain Sayedee to any person or to any authority, right?

Witness: No, I did not.

Defence: Mr Sayedee used to give speech in the religious meeting at different places in Jessore long before 1971, is that true?

Witness: I have no idea about that.

Defence: Mr Sayedee used live at Block- A of the New Market residential area of Jessore long before 1971, right?

Witness: I have no idea about that as well.

Defence: Look, I am saying- as you are an Awami League leader that is why being directed and assisted by the present Awami League led government you made false deposition against Sayedee in a false case, is that true?

Witness: It is not true.
Thus Mizanul Islam finished the cross examination of prosecution witness 15. However, Justice Zaheer asked for clarification from the witness in respect to the political cases against him.
Justice Zaheer: You said during the cross examination that you were sent to jail twice in political cases although you were a government service holder. And the defence counsel claimed you were sent to jail because of your corruption in the service. Thus, the Tribunal requires clarification for that from you.
Witness: My Lord, to be honest with you- I was sent Jail for 4 times; not twice. First time I was sent to jail in 1975 just after the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabondhu Sheikh Mojibur rahman, then second time in 1987 by the autocratic government of General Hossain Mohammad Ershad, then in 1995 before National Parliamentary Election of 1996 and finally in 2008 during the regime of army backed care-taker government. And all of the cases were filed due to my involvement with Awami League’s politics; not for allegation of corruption.
Defence counsel Mizanul Islam then seek the permission from the Tribunal for asking a further question although the cross examination was finished then. He gave the option to the Tribunal to include it in the cross examination if they think that it was relevant. The Tribunal then gave him permission
Defence: Were you a trade union leader?

Witness: No, I was not. I was involved with politics but not under trade union.

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