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.

1 Jan 2012: Mostafa cross exam day 1

After witness number eight, Mostafa Howlader, had given his statement, defence counsel Mizanul Islam started the cross examination.

Below is an unofficial translation of the cross examination. (Notes and translation undertaken by Fazle Elahi. Every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, but there may be some small omissions.)  
Defence: Do you know Abdur Rashid Bayati s/o Late Azhar Ali of village: Hogla Bunia?

Witness: Yes. I know him.

Defence: He filed a theft case against you and the court awarded sentence against you in that matter- is that true?

Witness: Not true. The conviction is not in force right now.

Defence: Can you please explain us why it is not in force?

Witness: I settled the matter with the plaintiff Abdur Rashid Bayati during the appeal.

Defence: When did you start your business of selling chola-muri (home made local food) at Parerhat marketplace?

Witness: 1 or 2 years before the War of Independence.

Defence: Had you got any permanent shop for selling the same?

Witness: No. I used sell them by ferrying (temporary like street hawkers).

Defence: How did you ferry (sell) the same?

Witness: In a big plate which I used to carry with me.

Defence: Was there any permanent marketplace in the Parerhat area? On which days of the week people used to come to Parerhat for buying and selling their goods?

Witness: People used to come for shopping for every single days of the week. However, weekly hat (market in bigger atmosphere than other days of the week) days were Sunday and Thursday.

Defence: How many shops were in Parerhat marketplace then in 1971?

Witness: 200-300 shops.

Defence: Were there any separate place for street hawkers/seller/buyers those used to come on hat days only?

Witness: No. However, they used to sit on the road.

Defence: Who were the richest business of Parerhat then?

Witness: Narayan Saha and Gauranga Pal.

Defence: Parerhat area was under control of the people who were on the side of freedom fighters until the Pakistani Army came to that area, right?

Witness: Not true.

Defence: When did the camp at Raj Laxmi School get established. I mean how long before the Pakistani Army came to your area?

Witness: The camp was not established the before the Pakistani Army came. It was established afterwards.

Defence: When and where was the rajakar camp established in Parerhat area?

Witness: 15-30 days before the Pakistsani Army came to our area. The camp was established in the Parerhat marketplace.

Defence: What was the colour of the uniform of the rajakars?

Witness: Khaki.

Defence: Do you know where they get those uniforms?

Witness: No idea.

Defence: When was the peace committee formed- before or after the Pakistani army came?

Witness: After the Pakistani army came.

Defence: What is the status of Parerhat as per administrative division?

Witness: It is a union.

Defence: Who was the chairman of Parerhat union then?

Witness: Ramani Bala.

Defence: What is the name of your village?

Witness: The name of my village is Hogla Bunia.

Defence: Where was the market place for your villagers?

Witness: It is Parerhat. It is the marketplace for both the villagers from Hogla Bunia and Umedpur.

Defence: Who was the Union Porishad (UP) member of Umedpur village then in 1971?

Witness: I do not know.

Defence: Can please tell us what was Danesh Molla’s profession?

Witness: He was a teacher.

Defence: What was the profession of Sekender Shikder?

Witness: He was a rich man. Sometimes he used to sit at his shops at Parerhat marketplace.

Defence: What was the profession of Khalil Moulovi? Where was he from?

Witness: He was MadrasaI (an education system in Bangladesh focusing Arabic and religious teachings) teacher. He has also had an opticians. He was from Hoglabunia village.

Defence: What was Moslem Maulana’s profession?

Witness: He was a student then in 1971.

Defence: Just after the rajakar force formed they started torturing Hindus and AL activists/supporters, right?

Witness: Yes. That is right.

Defence: What were the types of torturing by rajakars- looting and arson?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Due to this fear of torture by rajakars, some of the Hindus and AL activists/supporters left Parerhat then, is that true?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Can you please name the persons/families those left Parerhat then?

Witness: I cannot remember.

Defence: Do you know Pirojpur Arms Depot and Treasury were looted during the war?

Witness: I do not know anything about it.

Defence: Why did you state Roijuddin Poshari’s name as Roijuddin Company?

Witness: He had launches and trollers (engine boats)...something like a transport company that is why.

Defence: So he was involved in human trafficking in India, right?

Witness: Thats not true. He has got business in the Sunderbans.

Defence: What kind of business?

Witness: Fishing business.

Defence: Have ever been to the Sunderbans?

Witness: No.

Defence: During the whole war of independence in 1971, you had got the same business of chola-muri, right?

Witness: Yes. I started the business 1/2 years before the war and continued the same after 4/5 years of the victory.

Defence: Since when did you knew Ibrahim alias Kutti before the time of his death?

Witness: About 1/2 years ago.

Defence: Since when he (Kutti) started working as servant at Manik Poshari’s house?

Witness: I do not have any idea.

Defence: Where was he (Kutti) from basically?

Witness: He was from Badura which was 1-1½ miles north direction from there.

Defence: What was his father’s name?

Witness: His father’s name was Gafur Sheikh.

Defence: Did he (Kutti) get married?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Where was his father-in-law’s house?

Witness: Nol Bunia.

Defence: Do you know his father-in-law’s name?

Witness: No.

Defence: Do you know his brother-in-law Shaheb Ali?

Witness: No.

Defence: So you have never heard that he had got a brother-in-law named Shaheb Ali, right?

Witness. Right. I have never heard about him.

Defence: What kind of torture rajakars did in the Hogla Bunia village?

Witness: I do not know.

Defence: What kind of torture rajakars did in the Nol Bunia village?

Witness: I do not know that as well.

Defence: Do you know whether Ibrahim alias Kutti had got any child?

Witness: I do not know that.

Defence: Have ever tried to know that whether he (Kutti) had got a child or not?

Witness: I do not need to know that.

Defence: Where is his (Kutti’s) wife now? And what does she do? Do you know that?

Witness: No. I do not know that.

Defence: So the Pakistani armies threw Ibrahim alias Kutti’s dead body in the canal. What happened to his dead body then?

Witness: I heard that nobody found that.

Defence: Was Shohid Uddin Poshari known to you?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Had you got any personal relationship with him?

Witness: No.

Defence: Since when Mofiz Uddin Poshari (Witness) is known to you (before 1971)?

Witness: Roughly 1/2 years ago.

Defence: Since when he (Witness) started working for Manik Poshari?

Witness: I do not know.

Defence: Where is he (Witness) from?

Witness: He is from Badura.

Defence: Badura and Chigholia are separate villages, is that true?

Witness: Yes. Just adjacent. There is just a canal between the villages.

Defence: When did Parerhat become enemy free?

Witness: I cannot remember the exact day.

Defence: Well, in that case, can please tell us how many days before 16 December Parerhat became enemy free?

Witness: I cannot say.

Defence: Under whose leadership Parerhat become enemy free?

Witness: Ruhul Amin Nabin [Witness number 2]

Defence: Where did he (PW2) set up his camp?

Witness: At the same place where rajakars sat up their camp previously.

Defence: Have heard the name of freedom fighter Khoshrul Alam of Parerhat?

Witness: No.

Defence: What about Mokarram Hossain Kabir?

Witness: Yes. I know him.

Defence: Have heard the name of Zia Mia alias Major Zia Uddin (he was 2/Lt then)?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Can you please tell who came earlier at Parerhat- Ruhul Amin Nabin (PW2) or Major Zia?

Witness: I have no idea.

Defence: Well, Ruhul Amin Nabin (PW2) was the first freedom fighter to come back to Parerhat. None came before him, right?

Witness: Right.

Defence: So he (PW2) was not known to you long before- is that true?

Witness: It is not true. He is known to me for long time before.

Defence: What was his (PW2’s) profession before the war of independence?

Witness: He was a student then.

Defence: Where/What did he study then?

Witness: I do not know.

Defence: Well, in that case, can please tell whether he studied in a school or in a Madrasha?

Witness: No idea.

Defence: You said you saw Mofiz Uddin Poshari (Witness) and Ibrahim alias Kutti after the rajakar arson of Roijuddin’s homestead. How much time elapsed in between the 2 incidents?

Witness: Almost instantly.

Defence: You have also mentioned that the rajakars also set fire to Shohid Uddin’s gola ghor (store house for rice). Can you please tell us the storing capacity of that store house?

Witness: I do not know. However, he used to produce thousands mons (1 mon = 40 KGs) of rice.

Defence: In that case, can you please tell us the length and width of the store house?

Witness: No idea. However, it was very big one.

Defence: Did you go to the place after it was burnt?

Witness: No. I did not on that day. However, I visited the place on the next day around 10/11 am.

Defence: So, whom did you meet/see then?

Witness: I did not meet anyone of his family.

Defence: Well, did you see anyone else?

Witness: The store house was still burning until next day. Thus, like others I also came to see that.

Defence: When did Shohid Uddin Poshari and his family members leave their house I mean how long before the arson?

Witness: I do not know that.

Defence: Do you have any idea that whether their house suffered arson by local people before 8th May 1971?

Witness: I do not have any idea.

Defence: Did you meet Shohid Uddin Poshari and/or Manik Poshari in between rajakar force was formed in Parerhat and the incident of arson of their house on 8th May 1971?

Witness: I cannot remember at this moment.

Defence: When did you meet Shohid Uddin Poshari for the first time after the incident of 8th May 1971?

Witness: After the victory.

Defence: What about Manik Poshari I mean when did you meet him for the first time after the incident of 8th May 1971?

Witness: I cannot remember.

Defence: Well, just tell us before or after the victory?

Witness: I cannot remember that even.

Defence: How many houses Roijuddin had?

Witness: 2 houses.

Defence: When did you meet CIO Helal Uddin?

Witness: May be on 18.08.2010.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

1 Jan 2012: Eighth witness statement

After the cross examination of the seventh witness was completed, the afternoon session started with the examination-in-chief of the eighth prosecution witness Mostafa Hawlader. Haider Ali asked the questions on behalf of the prosecution. The beginning of the cross examination is dealt with in the next post.

Below is an unofficial translation of the evidence in chief. (Notes and translation undertaken by Fazle Elahi. Every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, but there may be some small omissions.)  
Prosecution: What is your name?

Witness: My name is Mostafa Hawlader.

Prosecution: How old are you?

Witness: I am 56 years old.

Prosecution: Where were you in the May of 1971?

Witness: I was at Parerhat. I had a business of selling chola muri (one kind of local food).

Prosecution: Can please tell us what did freedom fighters and rajakars do during the war? Can you remember 1/2 incidents of your area?

Witness: Yes. Delwar Hossain Shikder, Danesh Molla, Sekender Shikder, Kalil Moulovi, Moslem Maulana, Mojahar Mollik were the member of peace committee. They along with other rajakars were waiting at north side of Parerhat marketplace. After a while 52 Pakistani Armies came riding 26 cars (rickshaws). Delwar Hossain Saidi raising his hand showed them the houses and shops of the Hindus and Awami League supporters. Then they crossed the pool (bridge) near the Parerhat marketplace and ordered to loot the shops and houses. 30-35 shops/houses were looted at that time.

Prosecution: Who ordered to loot the shops/houses?

Witness: Saidi made the order. In fact, the armies made the order after Saidi showed them the houses/shops of Hindu’s and AL supporters.

Prosecution: Who were being involved in the looting?

Witness: Delwar Hossain Saidi, Danesh Molla, Sekender Shikder, Kalil Moulovi and other members of peace committee.

Prosecution: What happened then?

Witness: The looting continued about one and half an hour. Then went to Raj Laxmi School and set up their camp. After that they started looting at full stretch. Delwar Hossain Shikder, Danesh Molla, Sekender Shikder, Kalil Moulovi, Moslem Maulana, Mojahar Mollik were involved in this looting.

Prosecution: What happened then?

Witness: On the next day, they went to the Badura village and arson the house of Noor Khan as he was an activist of the Awami League. I saw smoke and fume from the other side of the river. From there, they went to Roijuddin Company alias Roijuddin Poshari’s place and committed arson on of the homesteads because he helped the AL activists/supporters to cross the border so that they could safely reach at India.

Prosecution: What happened next?

Witness: Then they went to Manik Poshari’s house and set fire to 3 of the homesteads, 1 stock house, 1 guest house. Seeing the fire and smoke Manik Poshari’s servants Mofiz Uddin Poshari (Witness) and Ibrahim alias Kutti ran towards Manik Poshari’s house from grazing field. Saidi grabbed them and took Witness to rajakar camp and armies killed Ibrahim alias Kutti by shooting at Thana’s ghat/on the side of the bridge. He heard the sound of shot. And after that they kicked Ibrahim alais Kutti to the canal.

Prosecution: Is Delwar Hossain Saidi present here? If yes, can you please identify him?

Witness: Yes. Here is he. (He pointed out Delwar Hossain Saidi)

Prosecution: Have you made any statement before CIO?

Witness: Yes.

Justice Zahir: Have you signed in the exhibits 2, 3, 5 and 7?

Witness: Yes. (He confirmed after seeing the exhibits himself)
At this stage, Prosecutor Haidar Ali requested the Tribunal not to allow cross examine the Witness on compassionate grounds. Justice Nassim saidin reply, ‘You cannot request this to us; rather you could ask your learned defence counsel not to do it.’ Prosecution replied the defence counsels will not agree to it. Justice Zahir interrupted and said, ‘It is upto the defence counsels whether they will agree to it or not. You (prosecution) brought the witness and if the defence wants they can definitely cross examine the witness. It is entirely upto you (prosecution) to bring anyone as witness and it is upto the defence whether they would cross examine him or not.

1 Jan 2012: Mofiz cross-exam day 2

Following the tribunal dealing with the Molla charges, the cross examination of Mofiz Uddin Poshari, witness number seven against Sayedee continued in the morning. The questions were asked by defence lawyer Kofil Uddin. (Subsequent to this, the evidence-in-chief of witness number eight was taken, set out in the next post)

Cross-examination, day one

Below is an unofficial translation of the cross-examination. (Notes and translation undertaken by Fazle Elahi. Every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, but there may be some small omissions.)  
Defence: So, what was the date of the incident?

Witness: 8 May (1971).

Defence: The date you have told can you please tell us whether it is of Bengali or English (Christian) era?

Witness: English (Christian) era.

Defence: Can please tell us what is the name of the month before May?

Witness: I cannot say.

Defence: Well, in that case, can please tell us how many days in May?

Witness: 29 days I guess.

Defence: Your daughter’s name is Chandra Banu, is that true?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: She has got an allotment of a house in the Shelter Centre at Parerhat after you have become the witness of this case- is that true?

Witness: True. My son-in-law collected information about that and got the allotment.

Defence: What is your mother’s name?

Witness: Roopmala Begum.

Defence: How many siblings your mother has?

Witness: 3 brothers and sister (2 brothers and my mother)

Defence: What are the names of your maternal uncles?

Witness: (1) Kashem Ali Poshari - elder uncle, (2) Hossain Ali Poshari - younger uncle.

Defence: Your second wife’s name is Farida Begum and your mother-in-law’s name is Saleha Begum- is that true?

Witness: True.

Defence: So you are living with them right now?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Your wife and your mother-in-law are beggars by profession in Parerhat area, right?

Witness: My wife does not beg. My mother-in-law might have involvement in begging.

Defence: The rajakars and Pakistani army grabbed you from Manik Poshari’s house, they tortured you and you escaped from their camp. When did Manik Poshari come to know that?

Witness: On the same day, at the time of Fazr prayer (it should be the next day i.e. the 9th May, 1971)

Defence: Did you go to any doctor for treatment of your wounds?

Witness: No.

Defence: Did you meet your wife/mother-in-law/sister-in-law/brother-in-law after you came back after rajakars’ camp?

Witness: No.

Defence: So you met them after the War of Independence?

Witness: No. I met them before the victory.

Defence: When?

Witness: Just after 2/3 days of the incident when I started for the Sundarbans.

Defence: Where did you meet them?

Witness: At my father-in-laws house where they used to live then.

Defence: Did not the rajakars loot or arson your father-in-laws house as you had escaped from their camp during you escaped and you left for the Sundarbans?

Witness: No. They did not. However, they set fire to my house at the first instance.
Defence lawyer did not want the Tribunal to include the statement from the witness that his house was set on fire, but the prosecution counsel Haidar Ali argued that it should be included.
Defence: Did the rajakar take away your father-in-law/mother-in-law/wife/sister-in-law in between those 2/3 days from the house they lived in?

Witness: I do not have any idea.

Defence: You have stated in your statement that you could not file a case against Delwar Hossain Saidi because you did not have financial ability to do the same. Are you financial able now?

Witness: No. I am not.

Justice Zahir: He has not file the case even. The case has been filed by CIO and he is just a witness.

Defence: How long you stayed at the Sundarbans?

Witness: Until the end of the victory.

Defence: Which/whose camp did you stay?

Witness: I stayed with Roijuddin’s family at the first instance. Later on I stayed at Zia Mia’s camp (Major Zia) and served the freedom fighters.

Defence: How long you stayed at Zia Mia’s camp?

Witness: About one month or one and half months.

Defence: So, in Zia Mia’s camp there were other freedom fighters as well, right?

Witness: Yes. Some others used come and go i.e. they stayed in the camp temporary basis.

Defence: Can please name 10/20 freedom fighters who stayed in that camp at that time?

Witness: (1) Amzed Hossain, (2) Alamgir Mia, there were some other freedom fighters and I knew their names but I cannot remember their name right now.

Defence: Well, can you please tell us, whether Zia Mia used to contact the other freedom fighters/camp/head quarter from the camp or he had separate office for this purpose?

Witness: There was separate house in the camp area for this purpose.

Defence: Was there in photograph in that room?

Witness: No.

Defence: Was there any type machine (type writer) in that office?

Witness: I did not notice.

Defence: Where was the camp/office- in the plain land/in water/in a basement or in a bunker?

Witness: In a plain land. The cut the bush/trees in the jangal (forest) and made the land plain and sat up the camp and office.

Defence: Did you cross Bagi and Sharan Khola on your way to the Sundarbans?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Is there any market place/office in Bagi?

Witness: Yes. There is market place on the side of the canal.

Defence: Did you hear the name of Khotur Baria during the war of independence?

Witness: No. I cannot remember.

Defence: I am saying you did not even go to the Sundarbans- what do you say?

Witness: It is not true.

Defence: You do not even have any established profession- what do you say?

Witness: It is not true as well.

Defence: Basically you were not Manik Poshari’s servant. You were in fact his ‘gun man’- is that true?

Witness: Not true. I was his servant.

Defence: You were not even aware of the fact of looting and arsoning of Manik Poshari’s house and that is why you did not become a witness in the case filed by Manik Poshari in the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s (CJM’s) court in Pirojpur- is that true?

Witness: It is not true.

Defence: There is no reference in that case of the fact that the rajakars took you away to their camp, tortured you, and finally you escaped, right?
The chief prosecutor raised objection at this point arguing that as witness was not a party or even witness to that case, he could not be aware of the facts. Justice Nassim agreed with that point.
Defence: You have mentioned the name of Delu alias Delwar Shikder s/o Late Rasul Shikder. He is not the same person named Delwar Hossain Saidi, right?

Witness: Not true. He is the same person with different names.

Defence: I am saying, Delu alias Delwar Shikder was a rajakar commander of Parerhat area and he was killed after the War of Independence by a member of Bangladesh Army- what do you say?

Witness: I did not see who killed the said Delu Shikder you are talking about.

Defence: There was a notorious razakar in your area named Delwar Hossain Mollik, is that true?

Witness: Not true.

Defence: The said Delwar Hossain Mollik was arrested after the War of Independence and was sent to jail- is that true?

Witness: It is not true.

Defence: As you are financially insolvent, you local MP of your area AKMA Awal gave you cash, put your name in the ‘old age benefit’ and ‘freedom fighter benefit’, allotted a house for your daughter at Parerhat Shelter Centre and gave you the hope to give you more cash so that you wrongfully identify Delu alias Delwar Hossain Shikder and Delwar Hossain Mollik as Delwar Hossain Saidi and you have done the same- what do you say?

Witness: It is not true.

Defence: I am saying- Delwar Hossain Saidi was never known as Delwar Hossain Shikder. He was known as Delwar Hossain Saidi since his student life- what do you say?

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Your statement before this Tribunal is not true because you did not make a complain/statement in this regard in last 40 years- is that true?

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Whatever you are saying here is not your own statement, basically someone instructed you to say the same here.

Witness: Not true.
At this point another defence Counsel Manjur Ahamed Ansari started to the cross examine the witness, but Justice Kabir protested that one witness was being examined by at least 3 defence counsels and this was killing valuable time of the tribunal. He suggested that one witness should be examined by one counsel.

In reply, defence counsel Tajul Islam submitted before the Tribunal that there is a lot of evidence and that therefore they have to divide the witness statements amongst themselves. Mizanul Islam also refered to the thousands of pages that they have received from the prosecution.

Justice Nassim then said in reply that, “In that case, one counsel can conduct the examination and the other may help him in certain situation”. In response Tajul Islam submitted that it would be practically impossible to do it like this but in the future they will try their level best to do it.

Justice Zahir said, “You are asking unnecessary and irrelevant questions and wasting the valuable time of the Tribunal”. Manjur Ahamed Ansari replied they do not have any intention to prolong the trial hearing and he is only here to show the contradiction in the examination in chief and cross examination. Justice Nassim aksed him to proceed.
Manjur Ahamed Ansari: You have stated in your statement you made a statement before a court officer at Pirajpur court. Who were with you then?
Justice Zahir said, “You said before proceeding that you will only deal with the contradictions. However, this question is not a contradiction anyway.”

There was then an argument between defence and prosecution counsel. Tajul Islam claimed that it was in no way forbidden in the procedure of the Tribunal that more than one defence counsel could examine a prosecution witness and or that the defence counsel could not ask questions other than relating to contradiction. Justice Nassim asked then to proceed and witness started to answer Manjur Ahamed Ansari’s questions.

Witness: I went to Pirajpur Court alone and gave statement before court officer. None went with me.

Defence: You did not mention in that statement before the court officer that you went to grazing the cows and buffalos on 8th May 1971- is that true?

Witness: Not true. I told him.

Defence: You have mentioned in the statement before this Tribunal that you saw smoke and fume at northern side from the grazing field; however, you did not mention the same in your statement before the court officer, right?

Witness: Not true. I told him the same.

Defence: You have further stated in the statement before this Tribunal that seeing the smoke and fume Ibrahim alias Kutti suggest you to flee to the river; however, you did not mention the same in your statement before the court officer, right?
In this stage, prosecutor Haider Ali raised an objection on the ground that the other statement tha tthe defence counsel was talking about was given before another court (lower), and therefore, it was not relevant in this case. Justice Nassim agreed with him. However, defence counsel MI submitted that the statement was given before a court officer therefore, it was definitely relevant here.

There was then a lot of argument between the defence and prosecution on this point, with each set of lawyers saying that they knew the law better.

TI and a prosecutor which lasted for at least 10 minutes. Both of them claimed that they know the law better than other.

Defence counsel claimed there was nothing in the ICT Rules about what statements should be taken into consideration for contradiction. However, as per Evidence Act and Code of Criminal Procedure, such a statement e.g. statement given under s. 164 of the Evidence Act is always considered by the courts in Bangladesh for contradiction. Justice Nassim then explained, “This is a Special Tribunal and there is special law for it. The Evidence Act or Code of Civil Procedure does not apply here.” However, Justice Nassim asked the defence to submit the ‘certified copy’ of that statement in the CJM’s court to be benefited out of that statement.

Justice Nassim and Justice Zahir then suggested the defence instead of asking about the statement line by line, the defence should ask the Witness that whether he has given that statement or not. 'It would be be easier and faster. There was again a commotion between all the papries

Justice Nassim stated that, ‘We shall accept only the contradictions between Witness’s statement before this tribunal and cross examination thereof. If the statement contradicts with any other statements given in other court is not relevant here and is not an issue in the case. And we shall use the term ‘past statement’ for any such previous statement.

He then asked defence counsel Defence to proceed.

Defence: You did not state in your previous statement that, “...then grabbing Ibrahim alias Kutti’s hair, Delu Shikder said, ‘Son of a Bitch! Where are you going?’”- did you? [Justice Jahir did not want to include this word in their note but the defence persuaded him to allow it]

Witness: It is not true. I stated.

Defence: You did not state in your previous statement that, “...then some of them said, ‘Tie them with a rope?’ Then some of them tie us with a rope which we used to tie the buffalo.”- did you?

Witness: It is not true. I stated that previously.

Defence: You did not mention in your previous statement that, “Then rajakar commander Sekender Shikder, Danesh Molla and others spread kerosene all over and sat fire.”- did you say that?

Witness: It is not true.

Defence: You have stated in your witness statement that, “Then after tying them with one rope, they took us on the bridge of Parerhat and asked Ibrahim alias Kutti ‘So you are the bodyguard of Shohid Uddin Poshari f/o Manik Poshari. Tell us where are they? If you do not tell us, we shall kill you.’ Then they kicked him.” You have not stated the same in your past statement. You told the same for the first time before this Tribunal.

Witness: It is not true.

Defence: You did not state in your previous statement that, “After a while I heard a sharp sound of firing a bullet and Ibrahim alias Kutti screamed saying ‘Maa!’ (Mom!). I look behind and saw that the armies were continuously kicking him until he fell in the water”- did you that?

Witness: It is not true. I stated.

Defence: Now I am saying, whatever you have told before the Tribunal so far i.e. on 8th May 1971, you went to grazing the cows and buffalos, came back home seeing the smoke and fume, arrested by rajakars and Pakistani Army who took you to Parerhat, they then killed Ibrahim alias Kutti, then they took you to their camp and tortured you, you escaped from their camp and finally you went to the Sunderbans and came back after the war; is not true.

Witness: Whatever I have said so far is true.

Defence: Now I am saying whatever statement you have given against Delwar Hossain Saidi- all are false allegations.

Witness: No. It is not.
Adjournment for lunch

1 Jan 2012: Molla charges delay

The day had been set for charges to be submitted by the prosecution against Quader Molla.

The prosecution told the tribunal that although the bundle was ready, they needed to double check it to ensure that it would not be returned by the Tribunal and that they needed a few more hours.

Justice Nassim told the prosecution that it could submitted to the registrar by 3 pm that day

Following this, the second day of the cross examination of Mofiz Uddin Poshwari took place, followed by the examination chief of the eighth witness, and followed by the beginning of his cross examination. These are all dealt with in separate posts

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.

29 Dec 2011: Seventh witness statement

The day started with 72 year old Mofizuddin Poshari, the seventh witness in the case against Delwar Hossain Sayedee, giving his examination-in-chief. The prosecutor asking the questions was Haider Ali. The cross examination, that started after this evidence was given, is set out in the following post.

Below is an unofficial translation of the witness's statement. (Notes and translation undertaken by Onchita Shadman. Every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, but there may be some small omissions.)  
Prosecutor: Where were you in the months of April and May of 1971?

Witness: I was working at Manik Poshari and Shahizuddin Poshari’s house.

Prosecutor: There were freedom-fighters, Razakars and Peace Committee during the war.

Witness: I knew.

Prosecutor: Tell us about their activities.

Witness: When the military had plundered in Parerhat, we were working at home and didn’t go there. Around 10/11am on 8 May, 1971 (next day) we were herding buffaloes when we noticed smoke and fire in the north. I told Kutti,”Brother I can see fire and hear cries of children.” We steered the buffaloes to Manik and Shahizuddin Poshari’s stable. After sometime we noticed a group of 20-22 Razakars approaching in our direction. Amongst them was Dilu Shikder (Sayedee). Seeing them, Kutti asked me to run. We ran south towards the river where two soldiers grabbed me. Dilu Shikder grabbed Kutti by his hair saying, “Where are you going son of a swine?” Then some Razakars including Momin and Razzak said, “Tie them up”. Both of us were fastened with the same rope.

Justice Zaheer: Let’s omit some of the words (referring to son of a swine).

Tajul Islam (Defense): These words prove his intention. Then put this down as ‘slang’.

Justice Zaheer: Ok, let’s leave it as it is.

Witness: We saw Razakar Mobin and others (I don’t know their names but will know them by face) entering into the house, bringing out things from inside and smashing them. They had brought out oil cans too. Danesh Molla, Dilu Shikder, Sekander Shikder, Mobin and other Razakars suggested pouring oil (kerosene) on the house and torching it. Dilu Shikder instructed them to do so. After the house was torched, I saw 4-5 rooms in flames. Amongst those were residential sections, granary and living/guest room. Most of the valuables were taken away, but few were left in front of the house. Then they set off towards Parerhat with me and Kutti. When we were passing over Parerhat Bridge, they (Razakars) asked Kutti, “Where are Manik and Shahizuddin Poshari? You know. You are their bodyguard. (Explains to the court that Shahizuddin Poshari is Manik Poshari’s father) You have to tell us. If you don’t we’ll kill you.” After saying this they‘d smacked us.

After coming off the bridge, 20-30 hands away, Dilu Shikder started discussing something with the Pakistani soldiers in Urdu. Sekander Shikder had also said something. I don’t understand Urdu and couldn’t make out what he’d said. They then unfastened Kutti and started off with me towards Parerhat camp. After I had moved away a bit further, I heard them saying to Kutti, “You still didn’t tell us.” Then I heard a gunshot followed by Kutti’s scream, “Ma (mother)”. When I looked back I saw that Kutti was shot. I started shivering. The soldiers kicked Kutti’s body into the canal. Then they took me to the Razakar camp near Thanarghat. They tied me and started beating me up brutally. Danesh Molla, Sekander Shikder and Dilu Shikder told me, “You have to tell us their whereabouts. Otherwise, you have seen how we kiiled one; we’ll kill you too.” They’d beaten me so hard that my fingers broke. Danesh Ali Molla pushed and knocked me down on the cement floor which made my lips crack. My knees bled; a tooth got bent and later fell off. Hitting me on the waist, Danesh Molla said, “Give us their information. Otherwise we’ll shoot you.”

Prosecutor: Show the scars on your body.

Witness: (shows scars on his knees) Sekander Shikder, Dilu Shikder, Mobin, Razzak, Danesh Molla had tortured me. Then they left. I don’t know where. They returned at around 10/11 pm and threatened me of death if I didn’t tell them whereabouts of Manik and Shahizuddin Poshari. I told them if they released me, I would enquire about this and inform them. Then they left. Danesh Molla said, “There’s no need to beat him anymore. He’ll inform us anyway.”

At around 11pm/12am many Razakars returned to the camp. I wanted to drink some water but they didn’t give me any. Then a Razakar named Razzak, who was a former acquaintance, asked me whether I would like to eat rice. I told him I would rather go to the toilet; otherwise I’ll litter your place. He handed me the end of the rope (with which I was fastened) and led me to the back of the camp on the eastern side of the canal. He made me sit by the fence and asked me to finish my business there. When he moved forward, I untied myself and managed to cross the canal with much pain and effort.

Once I reached the other side, I saw that they were looking for me with torches. I hid myself in the woods and slowly travelled to Manik Poshari’s house. I saw flames still burning, but couldn’t spot any people. So I moved into the woods on the east and lied there. A night guard named Mohammad used to be there. I called him said, “Brother I was taken as a captive. They will kill me.” I asked him to inform Manik Poshari to come to me. Mohammad gave me a cover. Manik Poshari arrived a little before dawn (just before Azaan). I told him details of being tortured. Manik Poshari took me deep into the woods and sent me food and medication through Mohammad. I used to call him (Mohammad) ‘mama (uncle).’ I stayed there on that day. Next day I went to Sundarban with my father-in-law. I came back from Sundarban after independence.

(Spotting Sayedee who was sitting in the dock) There is Dilu Shikder.