Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12 Dec 2011: Howlader cross-exam (cont)

This is the second day of the defence cross examination of the first prosecution witness, Mr Mahbubul Alam Howlader relating to charges against Delwar Hossain Dayedee. Here is the first day of his cross examination..

Prior to the cross examination, the tribunal heard arguments on a number of applications filed by Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, the BNP leader, accused in a separate case, who was representing himself.

Below is an unofficial translation of the cross examination. The defence lawyer doing the cross examination is Mizanur Islam. The defence lawyer Tajul Islam also sometimes intervenes as does the prosecutor Saidur Rahman. (Notes and translation undertaken by Onchita Shadman. Every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, but there may be some small omissions.)

Before the cross-examination continued there was a dispute between Tajul Islam the defence lawyer, and the chairman about whether or not the investigation officer should stay. (More about this will be posted on this page later).
Defence: Mahbub Saheb, you made applications to the Deputy Commissioner of Pirojpur on 7/4/2004 and 19/01/2005 asking for aid as a freedom fighter?

Witness: I have

Defence: Did you receive aid?

Witness: As a freedom fighter, yes I received.

Defence: What was the amount?

Witness: I can’t remember right now.

Justice Zaheer: Do these questions have any relevancy (with the case)?

Defence: We can’t disclose the relevancy right now. Whether it’s relevant or not, you can decide that during your judgement.

Defence: You asked for 5 bundles of corrugated tin in your second application.

Witness: I can’t remember that.

Defence: How many bundles did you receive as aid?

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: You did receive aid. Is that right?

Witness: I think so.

Defence: In your first application you’d mentioned that your house had been looted by Pakistani army and Razakars in 1971.

Witness: I did

Justice Zaheer: In Pirojpur’s application?

Defence: No, the first one dated 6/4/2004.

Defence: You had also mentioned that since you were a freedom fighter, your brothers apprehended that your house would be looted and had broken it up in advance and taken it elsewhere.

Witness: The purpose of writing of the application was to get aid.

Defence: Did you write these?

Witness: Yes, I’d written.

Defence: This application doesn’t have description of items being looted from your place.

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: Have a look, is this the application?

Hyder Ali objects saying this document has not been submitted to the prosecution.

Chairman: As they have given a copy of the document, they can draw attention to it, but can’t exhibit it. It was submitted yesterday as a reference document in volume 5.

Tajul Islam: Page 267, 4th page of volume 5. Hyder Ali: Attention has been drawn. Do they have to keep showing it while cross-examining?

Justice Zaheer: When witness has admitted he has written it…..content will be your proof.

Tajul Islam: We wanted to know whether this segment is his (written by him).

Chairman: Once he has admitted (writing) it, it’s not necessary (to ask) whether this segment is his.

Defence: The law doesn’t mention anywhere that prosecution can’t exhibit defence’s papers.

Defence: In that application of yours, you didn’t mention that the Pakistani army and Razakars had destroyed your house.

Witness: I’d mentioned before that the Pakistani Occupying Forces had done harm to me.

Defence: I am saying you’ve not mentioned of this harm. Is that true?

Prosecution says that this is cross of the cross-examination.

Defence: This is not cross of cross. The previous one was a question.

Chief Prosecutor: He has answered the question. It’s repeating the question.

Chairman (to witness): Yes now you answer that.

Witness: It’s not true.

Justice Zaheer: There won’t be any question on this (witness’s last answer).

Defence: You’d mentioned in the second application that your house had been looted.

Witness: I can’t remember.

Justice Zaheer: When the witness is on dock and one side is questioning him, make sure the other side does not make any sound.

Witness: In the second application, I didn’t say Judges and prosecution stops him, saying he has already answered the question.

Defence: Let him say in one sentence, “I can’t remember what I have said in any application made in the past”.

Defence: What’s your profession?

Witness: I used to do business back then. Now I am in charge of Muktijodhdha command.

Defence: What’s the source of your income?

Witness: I get Muktijodhdha allowance and have property.

Defence: What’s your monthly income?

Witness: I get Tk 2000 as allowance.

Prosecution objects about relevancy of these questions.

Tajul: We’ll show relevancy from next question.

Defence: What’s the size of the land on which your house (the one you live in) is located?

Witness: 5 Katha.

Defence: Other assets?

Witness: Next to it.

Defence: What’s the size of your other assets?

Witness: Including house and land 1.5-2 Bigha.

Defence: You are married to Reena Begum.

Justice Zaheer: Are you starting on his fourth generation (of family history)

Defence: Your wife is collecting 30 kg of rice with her poor-mother’s-allowance card since 2011.

Witness: She is not my wife anymore. (to Judges) It’s shishu (child) card. Sir, I have small children.

Chairman: Isn’t it poor-mother’s-allowance card?

Witness: We know of it as ‘shishu card’.

Defense gives some paper to prosecution.

Defence: I am saying that it’s untrue that he knows it as ‘shishu card’.

Witness: It’s true

Defence: The house you have built. Can you tell us the specific year? You’ve started it after Sheikh Hasina came to power?

Witness: No. Defence wants to go to another topic.

Nizamul Haque: Why not you question serially. You have started questioning about his house, finish it.

Defence: (to judges) This is also relevant. (to witness) In 1971 Pirojpur District had the thanas (police stations) named Mothbaria, Bhandaria, Nazimpur, Kaukhali, Swarupkathi.

Witness: I am doubtful about Swarupkathi. There were thanas (police stations). I can’t remember names of all correctly.

Defence: Zianagar Police Station is part of Pirojpur. I am reminding you that Swarupkathi Police Station was divided into Nesarabad and….

Witness: I have heard of Nesarabad in the past. Not sure if it’s still there.

Defence: Who was the Peace Committee chairman and secretary of Mothbaria Thana

Witness: Our area was divided.

Defence: Who was the Razakar commander of Mothbaria?

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: Who was the Al-Badar commander of Mothbaria?

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: Al-Shams Commander?

Witness: Can’t say.

Defence: Who was the officer in charge of that thana (police station)?

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: Who was the second officer of that Thana?

Witness: I can’t say that. I can’t say who is where in Mothbaria thana. Me, Raisuddin Poshari and his brother Shahabuddin Poshari were responsible for Indurkani and Parerhat.

Defence: Who was the chairman of Peace Committee at Bhandaria thana. Prosecution objects saying witness stated clearly that he was not responsible for whole Pirojpur.

Justice Zaheer: He said he was in charge of only Indurkani and Parerhat. I am making your examination shorter.

Defence: You’d said after taking oath that you were responsible for Pirojpur district.

Witness: I didn’t say I was responsible.

Justice Zaheer: Is it true that you travelled across the whole district as a spy (quoting from witness statement)?

Witness: I may have made a mistake. I was not responsible alone.

Defence: Who instructed you to say “As a spy, I observed these crimes which happened across the whole district and passed news on to Sundarban Muktijodhddha camp”.

Witness: Say that again.

Defence repeats the last question

Witness: No one had taught me. It’s my own statement.

Defence: You have never been to theses areas, Mothbaria, Bhandaria, Nazimpur, Kaukhali, Swarupkathi.

Witness: I was not responsible for those areas.

Defence: Say it clearly

Witness: I’ve matters of my own…. Justice Zaheer asks prosecution not to disturb and be patient.

Defence: When in 1971, have you been there as a spy?

Witness: At that time I had communication with the freedom fighters and included many people of Bhandaria. It’s true that I was responsible.

Defence: Who was the spy in Mothbaria district?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Who was the Muktijodhdha commander of Mothbaria district?

Witness: Mothbaria was under the control of Ziauddin.

Defence: Who was responsible for spying in Bhandaria?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Likewise, you can’t say the names of spies responsible in the other thanas?

Witness: I can’t remember. Break in proceedings for lunch

Defence: You can’t say the names of chairpersons of Peace Committee in Mothbaria, Bhandaria, Nazimpur, Kaukhali, Swarupkathi.

Witness: I can’t say names of the chairman.

Defence: You can’t give names of Razakars in those thanas.

Witness: No

Defence: Pirojpur district was part of Barisal Mahkuma

Witness: Part of Barisal district?

Defence: That’s it

Witness: yes

Defence: Can you give names of Peace Committee Chairperson and secretary of Barisal?

Witness: No

Defence: Razakar commanders?

Witness: No

Defence: Your district and subdistrict consist of three unions. Is that right?

Witness: Yes, present Zianagar.

Defence: When was this Upazila (subdistrict) formed? Can you give the date or the year?

Witness: During Khaleda Zia government’s tenure, it was named.

Defence: During Khaleda Zia’s first government or second?

Witness: This Upazila?

Defence: This Upazila consists of Parerhat, Potyashi and Sankarpasha.

Witness: This would be Palipara

Defence: Pirojpur Sadar Upazila has Sankarpasha union

Witness: Some parts are adjacent to each other.

Defence: Can you give names of Peace Committee chairperson and secretary of Sankarpasha union?

Witness: no, Parerhat’s and Sankarpasha’s Peace Committee were made up of the same members.

Defence: Ekram Khalifa Talukder was the chairman of Peace Committee of entire Sankarpasha union. Do you know that?

Witness: I don’t know

Defence: You know but you are concealing that.

Witness: Not true

Defence: He was also the chairman of that union?

Witness: I know that he was chairman

Defence: In 1970’s state election, how many candidate had participated?

Witness: I don’t know

Defence: You can’t say how many candidates were from your area?

Witness: I can’t give the figures.

Defence: You can’t say how many votes did Awami League get in that election?

Witness: I can’t give figures.

Defence: In 1974, who was the elected chairman from Pirojpur?

Witness: I can’t say that.

Defence: Who was the vice chairman?

Witness: I can’t remember anything of that time.

Defence: I am saying names of people and their region. See if you know them. Abdus Salam, whose father is Nabab Ali, hails from Umedpur

Witness: I know (him).

Defence: Is he alive?

Witness: yes

Defence: Asrab Ali, father is Sekander Ali, hails from Hoglabunia.

Witness: They are Forazis

Defence: yes Forazis

Witness: I don’t know him, but there used to be a Mistiri (mechanic) called Asrab Ali

Defence: I haven’t asked that. Chittaranjan Talukder. Father Bhajendranath Talukder, hails from Umedpur.

Witness: yes

Defence: Is he home or abroad?

Witness: he is dead

Defence: When did he die?

Witness: it’s been a year.

Defence: Can you give the date?

Witness: no.

Defence: Yusuf Howlader, hails from Sankarpasha. Do you know him?

Witness: I can’t remember

Defence: Abul Bashar, Father Emdadul Khan Khokon, hails from Badura.

Witness: I know him

Defence: Does he live at home or abroad?

Witness: I see him at times. Don’t know whether he lives in the country or not.

Defence: Mizanur Rahman Khedu, Father Asrab Ali Howlader, hails from Badura

Witness: They are Montu’s house

Defence: Do you know him?

Witness: Yes

Defence: They are alive and lives in the country

Witness: I see them sometime. I don’t have their details.

Defence: When you filed case against Sayedee, you’d mentioned these people as witnesses.

Witness: yes

Defence: Mahbub Poshari, Father Mannan Poshari, hails from Chitalia

Witness: I can’t remember

Defence: Jahangir Poshari, Father Shahabuddin Poshari of same village

Witness: I know him

Defence: Is he alive?

Witness: I don’t know his whereabouts

Defence: Do you know Kanchan Poshari of same village and son of same person?

Witness: No

Defence: Haripad Mistiri, Father Buramoni Mistiri of Chitalia

Witness: I can’t remember right now.

Defence: Jadabchandra Roy, Father Madan Roy of same area?

Witness: I can’t remember the son

Defence: Khabir Howlader, Father Tofayel Howlader

Witness: I know Tofayel, not his son

Defence: Pirojpur Sadar was independent on 8 December, 1971?

Witness: Pakistani Occupying Forces left the region on that day.

Defence: Under Captain Shahjahan Omar’s leadership, freedom fighters had taken hold of Pirojpur Thana

Witness: Omar’s leadership is not true.

Defence: Major Zia’s leadership?

Witness: Yes

Defence: Major Zia’s second in command was Shamsul Alim Talukder and Advocate Shamsul are different people

Justice Zaheer: It’s better to say Ziauddin

Defence: Ok Sir. Major Ziauddin’s second in command was Shamsul Alam Talukder and Advocate Shamsul Haque are different people

Saidur Rahman: They can’t confuse the witness like that.

Defence: We have asked this Ruhul Amin Nabin, not to him

Witness: Different people.

Chief Prosecutor: Don’t delay in answering.

Defence: I would like to draw his attention to prosecution document, volume 3, 3346-3353, page 202-209. As Muktijodhdha commander of Zianagar Upazila

Chief Prosecutor: Is the document prepared by witness?

Chairman: We haven’t seen that (yet). Mr Chief Prosecutor this is volume 3, this again volume 3 and this is also 3. 1st volume has it, 2nd volume has it, not the 3rd volume.

Chief Prosecutor says that by mistake a few pages are missing from Justice Zaheer’s copy of volume 3.

Defence: As upazila Muktijodhdha commander, you’d sent a letter to upazila officer of Mukti Sangsad ….alleging genocide, rape, arson attack. Is that right?

Witness: I did send a letter. I don’t know whether it’s the same letter.

Defence: It was sent to modify information on crimes, genocide, rape, arson attack committed by Pakistani Occupying forces and their associates, Razakars, Al-Badars and Al-Shams in 1971’s liberation war. The memo no. of that letter is G/mu/sha/18, date 2/2/2011.

Saidur Rahman from prosecution goes over to the dock saying he wants to verify which document it is.

Tajul Islam from defence says Saidur is giving answer to the witness.

Justice Zaheer: (Saidur Rahmn) You don’t have to leave your seat. You have a copy in front of you, open page 209 and see whether he is right or wrong.

Witness: This is not the actual copy. It (the signature) looks like my name.

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