Tuesday, December 13, 2011

11 Dec 2011: Cross-exam witness one

After the prosecution submitted charges against three Jamaat leaders, the cross examination of the first witness, Md Mahbubul Alam Howlader, by the defence started. (To see his original statement).

Cross examination is undertaken by the lawyer, Mizanul Islam, who till now has not played any part in court proceedings on behalf of the defence. Occasionally the defence lawyer Tajul Islam also intervenes in proceedings for the defence, and prosecutor Saidur Rahman for the defence.

In the unofficial translation below of the cross examination, the 'defence' corresponds to Mizanul Islam, and the 'witness' corresponds to 'Md Mahbubul Alam Howlader'. (Note taking and translation undertaken by Onchita Shadman. Attempts have been made to make this as accurate as possible but there will undoubtedly be some errors)

The chairman first asked all other witnesses to leave the court. The investigating officer however remained, and Tajul Islam asked why he was being allowed to stay since he had previously been asked to leave when the witness was giving his statement. The chairman said that they had already decided that he should be able to stay. Islam said that the defence felt that the presence of the investigating officer will affect the accused.
Defence: Honourable court had asked us not to question about father’s name. 60 to 62 father’s names were given by the prosecution. Their names are not unknown. I hope the tribunal will permit us to ask father’s name.

Chairman: You leave it out. This won’t be a problem.

Defence: I’ll try my level best. Mr Mamububul Alam, You have given your statement and are now seated at the court. On last Wednesday and Thursday, where was the evidence that you'd [supposedly] kept in your possession?”

Witness: The evidence is at Manik Poshari’s house.

Defence: Are the evidence items in your possession?

Witness: Yes they are with me.

Defence: He’d said the evidence will be in his charge

Witness: This is not true

Defence: ‘This is in my charge’? (referring to Witness: statement)

Saidur Rahman (prosecutor): He hasn’t said this.

Defence: If not said, that’s fine. I am questioning

Tajul objects saying answers to their questions are to be recorded now and any clarification will come later.

Justice Zaheer: If you speak in the middle, everyone will be disturbed

Tajul: My lord, whether we are right or wrong can be judged later.

Chairman: Shan’t we see whether he can ask this question?

Tajul: If you look at the document, clear it, clarify it..

Justice Zaheer (to Tipu): Don’t pass any comment

Defence: You have violated your words of taking charge of evidence items?

Witness: This is not true.

Defence: Have you seen the place where Manik Poshari has kept those evidences?

Witness: I’ve seen.

Defence: You and Manik Poshari have filed two cases against Allama Sayedee at Pirojpur court?

Witness: Yes

Chief Prosecutor: Why are you using Allama?

Tajul: He (Defence) can say this. Will you teach us which questions to ask?

Witness: I filed two cases.

Chairman: One by you, and one by Manik Poshari?

Witness: yes

Defence: After filing these two cases, you and Manik Poshari appeared in inteviews on Ekushe tv and ATN Bangla?

Witness: I can’t remember

Defence: Who informed you about seizure?

Witness: In my presence investigation officer said

Defence: When?

Witness: In between 11 am to 12 pm. 8th of May

Defence: From whose house were the evidence items seized first, Alamgir Poshari or Manik Poshari?

Witness: Perhaps in Manik Poshari’s

Defence: How long did it take to sieze?

Witness: 15-20 minutes

Defence: It took another 15-20 minutes for the Witness: to sign their papers and investigation officer to sign that too?

Witness: Another 10-15 minutes.

Defence: You’ve said yesterday that time of seizure from both (houses) is 11am?

Witness: I didn’t understand the question

Justice Zaheer explains the question to the witness.

Chief prosecutor objects about Tajul showing the witness a paper

Chairman: This (paper) has been exhibited. He (witness) can speak by looking at it.

Defence: Has this been labelled by the Investigation Officer?

Witness: No.

Defence: Who is older, Alamgir or Manik Poshari?

Witness: Manik Poshari is older.

Defence: Neither Alamgir Poshari nor Manik Poshari has sigend this seizure list?

Witness: No
Defence: Referring to things you’ve mentioned regarding seizure list (on witness statement), there were no burnt marks were on brick and wood of seized items.

Witness: This is not true.

Defence: This evidence has been constructed to serve the interest of his case.

Witness: Not true

Defence: When did the vehicle carrying Selim Khan reach there?

Witness: On the same day at around 12 pm.

Defence: This is a photo of house taken by Selim Khan.

Witness: This is a photocopy.

Defence: When the snaps were taken, you did not have any photocopy machine around.

Witness: There was (a photocopy machine). They (IO) had taken it.

Defence: Had the machine been taken over there in a car?

Witness: The IO had the photocopy machine in his briefcase.

Defence: Here’s a photo of Selim Khan’s house and above, is a list. Read that.

Saidur Rahman goes to the dock to have a look at those papers.

Tajul (to Saidur): You can’t help.

Saidur: Don’t I have that right?

Tajul: You have the right. But you’ve given (the witness) the answer.

Defence: Look at the headline ‘seizure list’. This seizure list does not mention source of seizure.

Chief Prosecutor objects saying this is a question Investigation Officer should be asked about.

Justice Zaheer: If questions are improper, we’ll cancel them ourselves.

Defence: There’s no source. And the date and time have not been mentioned.

Witness: After seizure list was made of Manik Poshari’s house, seizure list had been at Selim khan’s house.

Defence: This was not my question. Place of seizure is also not mentioned in here.

Witness: We sat in front of Selim Khan’s house

Defence: From whom these have been seized, that has also not been mentioned.

Defence: Witness’s name and addresses have not been mentioned.

Witness: Their signature is there.

Defence: It doesn’t mention which items have been seized. There’s no mention of who has prepared this document. Besides the two other photos you have presented, you said the same things about those.

Justice Zaheer: Three photos?

Defence: Not three, four.

Defence: (Explains): In addition to Selim Khan’s photos you have exhibited two photos of Manik Poshari’s house, of burnt wood and photo of burnt marks at Alamgir Poshari’s house.

Witness: Same statement

Defence: Do you know where Sayedee Saheb had his primary education?

Witness: I’ve heard.

Defence: Say where?

Witness: At Sharshina Madrasa, I’ve heard.

Defence: Do you when he’d got admitted in Sharshina Madrasa?

Witness: He’d finished studying there 7 or 8 years before independence.

Defence: In which class did he get admitted first?

Witness: Alim class

Defence: How far is Sharshina Madrasa from your house?

Witness: Around 20-25 km.

Defence: Which way?

Witness: I am guessing, north-east.

Defence: Have you ever been to Sharshina Madrasa?

Witness: No

Defence: Can you tell me the name of the head of Sharshina Madrasa while Sayedee Saheb was a student there?

Witness: No

Defence: Can you say names of his classmates?

Witness: No

Defence: Can you say name of any of his senior students?
Witness: No
Defence: Can you say name of any of his junior students?
Witness: No
Defence: Can you say the name of Muhaddes Saheb during that time.
Witness: No
Defence: Do you know the names of people who had done this investigation?
Witness: No

Defence: On 19th May, when you’d filed a case against Sayedee at Pirojpur court, you didn’t mention of his expulsion (from Madrasa)

Witness: (I’ve mentioned) later in an amendment.

Defence: When did you submit application for amendment?

Witness: On 20/7/2010 to tribunal. (later he said application for amendment was not given to Pirojpur’s case)

Defence: I’m saying you have given false statement to defame Sayedee in public

Witness: Not true.

Defence: You’d submitted only one application to the tribunal, no application for amendment.

Defence: The house that you live in is a (concrete) building.

Witness: It’s not complete building yet. It has tin roof.

Defence: Since when have you started building this house?

Witness: (it’s been) 6/7 years

Defence: Have you inherited this?

Witness: From my mother

Defence: Did your mother have house on her property?

Witness: I’ve built the house

Defence: You’ve sent a letter to the District Commissioner of Pirojpur on 7/4/2004.

Prosecution objected saying this is an unauthorised documents which haven’t been submitted to the court beforehand.

Defence: This is why we had asked for more time.

Chairman: You can submit it to the registrar by today.

Defence: We are not prepared today.

Hyder Ali objects.

Nizamul Haque: You have objected. We will decide.

Justice Zaheer: You keep this. Go to the next question. Once you have submitted this, you can go back to that question.

Defence: You had submitted this application with District Commissioner of Pirojpur addressing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. It was an application to assist a helpless unemployed freedom fighter.

Hyder Ali tries to question the relevancy of that document.

Chairman: The tribunal will decide whether it is relevant or not. Take your seat.

Witness: This is true.

Defence: You had mentioned in that application that you were facing financial difficulty since independence.

Justice Zaheer: Until you submit that paper with the court, you can’t mention its content.

Tajul: This is the heart of the case. This is why we’d asked for more time.

Defence: Sir please give us three days. On 14th we’ll submit the first copy.

Chairman: Finish your cross-examination leaving out this document. If you need to use it later, you can.

Defence: Please give us three days Sir. We’ll file it tomorrow.

Justice Zaheer: File them all today.

Defence: We’ll submit the ones relevant to this witness.

Chairman: We're giving adjournment today. But in future no adjournment will be given regarding (filing of) applications.

Tajul: Tribunal had given an order of submitting documents by 14th. [He is referring to the order that the defence must submit all witness statement that they intend to rely on to the prosecution by that date]

Justice Zaheer: You are not getting any time after 14th.

Tajul: Nothing should be foreseen. If something happens in future, you won’t give adjournment?
Nizamul Haque adjourns the trial until the next day and asks the witness to sign his name before he leaves.

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