Tuesday, January 3, 2012

19 Dec 2011: Nabin cross exam day 2

Following the orders relating to the applications filed by the accused Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, and before the third prosecution witness Md Mizanur Rahman Talukder started to gave his 'Evidence-in-chief' to the tribunal, the second day of cross examination of the second witness, Ruhul Amin Nabin, took place.

Questioning was first undertaken by the defence lawyer Kafiluddin Chowdhury. 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.)

Evidence in chief by witness
First day of questioning
Defence: Ziauddin had written a memoir titled “Sunderbaner Ummatal Dinguli”, published in 1993.

Witness: Haven’t read it, don’t know about it

Defence: Because the book contains real description of the war which doesn’t match with your descriptions and because it doesn’t mention your name, you are denying having knowledge of the book to hide the truth.

Witness: Not true (since I didn’t read it, I don’t know what’s in it)

Chairman: You can’t twist questions you ask the witness. You can ask whether he knows of real incidences (which happened during the war). Then you can ask, “Are you denying your knowledge of the book because your name isn’t there?”

Defence: This year you have contested for the position of Deputy Commander of Pirojpur District.

Witness: yes

Defence: Did you win or lose?

Witness: lost

Defence: How many quotas are there in your district command?

Witness: Around 2200 members

Defence: Who were the former commanders of this district command?

Witness: I can’t name everyone other than a few.

Defence: Who was the commander before the election you’d contested?

Witness: Mr Goutam Chowdhury.

Defence: Who was before him?

Witness: Late Jamlul Haque Monu

Defence: Who was before him?

Witness: Nurul Haque, Chan Majid (Shahidul Haque Chan), I can’t name them serially.

Defence: When was Zianagar Upazila formed?

Witness: During Khaleda Zia’s government, but can’t remember whether it was in 1999 or 2001.

Defence: Delwar Hossain Sayedee was a parliament member then?

Witness: yes

Defence: Are you member and voter of that assembly (Muktijidhdha Sangsad)? Not clear whther this questioned was answered

Chairman: Do you mean member or voter?

Defence: Who was your opponent in that election?

Witness: A freedom fighter named Hanif Bangali.

Defence: How many voters were there for that election?

Witness: probably 96. Could you clarify what this is all about, and the line after this

Defence: How many members do you have? 96 or more?

Witness: People included in the Gazetee of Muktijodhdha Sangsad are considered to be its members. In that respect no of voters and no of members are the same.

Defence: You mentioned you’d collected supply for different unit of freedom fighters in mid-June. Can you name a few camps?

Witness: Bogi camp and Sharankhola camp.

Defence: How long did it take to travel to Bogi if you had enough boatmen?

Witness: In ebb tide, 3.5 to 4 hours, in others tides could even take a day.

Defence: How long did it take to go to Sharankhola camp?

Witness: in ebb, half an hour added to the time it takes to go to Bogi camp.

Defence: When did they give you list of supply for these camps?

Chairman: It’s not necessary [to answer the question]

Defence: Did the first prosecution witness of this case, Mahbubul Alam consult with you before lodging this case?

Witness: no

Defence: Did Mahbubul Alam consult with you before lodging the case at Pirojpur court with similar charges?

Witness: no

Defence: Did Mahbubul Alam consult with you regarding the list of Razakars, freedom fighters or others that he’d made?

Witness: no

Defence: Was there any book titled ‘Pirojpurer Itihash’ (history of Pirojpur) published by Pirojpur District Council?

Witness: I don’t know

Defence: Because the book contains real history of the war which doesn’t match with your descriptions and because it doesn’t mention your name, you are denying that you’d read the book.

Witness: not true.

Defence: Poet Hasan Hafizur Rahman edited a historical book on Bangladesh’s liberation war which was published by Bangladesh Information Ministry. Have you read it?

Witness: I have heard that it has been published, but didn’t read it.

Defence: Faizur Rahman, the SDPO of Pirojpur at that time was killed at the bank of Baleshwar River.

Witness: I don’t know whether it was at the bank of Baleshwar River, but heard that he was killed in Pirojpur.

Defence: Do you know of his wife Ayesha Foyez’s book?

Witness: No

Defence: Because the book contains real history of the war which doesn’t match with your descriptions and because it doesn’t mention Delwar Hossain Sayedee’s name, you are denying having knowledge of the book.

Witness: not true

Defence: You were not injured during the war?

Witness: no

Defence: no one had burnt down your house?

Witness: no

Defence: You did not know of Delwar Hossain Sayedee’s whereabouts in Parerhat before 1986?

Witness: I haven’t met him

Defence: Sayedee Saheb had been organising Waz Mahfil before March 25, 1971 and after the liberation war in his own area, neighbouring localities and internationally. He’s never been in hiding.

Witness: You have two questions at one time …. He’d never done Waz Mahfils before the war. As far as I know, only after 1986.

Defence: He’d never changed his name

Witness: not true

Defence: On June 16, 1975, during Awami League’s regime, he’d received a passport after police verification at his own address (village).

Witness: not true

Defence: He used to live in his village home at that time

Witness: not true

Defence: Because he’d given a speech against Awami League’s bad governance before 1975, he was arrested and detained under Special Powers Act.

Witness: don’t know

Defence: Sayedee ran for parliamentary office three times, out of which he was twice elected.

Justice Zaheer: This is an admitted fact. You don’t need this.

Defence: In which session did you study at Dhaka University’s Bangla department?

Witness: 1973 to 74

Defence: When did you appear in your honours exam?

Witness: probably in the beginning of 1978

Defence: Can you say what was your result?

Witness: No, just after exam, I’d left the country.

Defence: You’re not a real freedom fighter, but only one on paper.

Witness: not true

Defence: You have collected your HSC and SSC certificates from outside of your area by using name and power of a freedom fighter.

Witness: not true

Defence: After that you’d used those certificates to get admitted In Dhaka University.

Witness: not true

Defence: After political change in the country, you’d realised that it won’t be possible for you to pass the exam and so you left the country without appearing in the exam.

Witness: not true

Defence: When did you return from Germany?

Witness: In February-March of 1984.

Defence: Are you a businessman now?

Witness: yes, I have an ice plant at Parerhat Bazaar.

Defence: When did you start on that business?

Chairman: You’ve asked the last 10-15 questions to discredit him. What if the answers to those had been yes?

Witness: I opened the letter for credit (LC) for the plant in 1991 and the business activities started in 1992

Defence: You took loan from Rupali Bank for this plant. Since you couldn’t reimburse the loan, the bank put your plant’s items on auction,

Witness: I have returned 100% of the dues.

Chairman: Why not come to the point?

Defence: We will show you the connection (relevance) shortly.

Tajul Islam: Don’t we have to reveal his character? We have the right to discredit the applicant.

Nizamul Haque: Do ask relevant questions.

Tajul Islam: We will examine in our own way.

Defence: After agreeing to be a witness in this case, you’ve received waiver from the government and could pay back the loan.

Witness: I paid it back this month.

Nizamul Haque: Isn’t this a private bank? There had been countless such cases in the High Court.

Tajul Islam: It has 57% government share. Let us question. You can give your judgement later.

Nizamul Haque: Is it waiving the loan or the interest? Both are different cases.

Defence: Waiving the interest to make opportunity for reimbursing the loan.

Defence: You couldn’t pay your electricity bill due to financial difficulty.

Witness: not true

Defence: Because you couldn’t pay the bill, you tampered with the electricity meter as a result of which a case of electricity theft was filed against you. You had to pay fine to get out of the case.

Witness: not true

Chairman: Is it a question of stealing electricity or default on electricity bill payment? After conviction was given, isn’t everything made ok?

Justice Zaheer: Bad character is not a part of our Evidence Act.

Chairman: He was arrested, but not sent to jail.
Defence: You elder brother freedom fighter Kamaluddin lives in Dhaka now?

Witness: not true

Defence: Smuggling…. [unrecorded question]

Chairman This is too much. Cancelled. This is nothing but a scandalous question. From next time only one of you (defence counsels) will conduct the cross-examination. Please be prepared when you come.

Monjur Ahmed Ansari then took over asking questions for the defence

Defence: Delwar chairman’s store is in front of your house in Parerhat?

Witness: yes

Defence: His house in the next alley?

Witness: no

Defence: Where is it then?

Witness: On eastern side of the port at the bank of the canal.

Defence: Abul Kalam Azad is his son?

Witness: yes

Defence: His age is 52-53

Witness: I can’t tell

Defence: At the south western corner of your house is Mokarram Hossain’s house?

Witness: yes

Defence: Matiur Rahman Howlader, father Forman Ali Howlader, had two shops nearby. Do you know him?

Witness: no

Defence: Do you know Helaluddin Poshari’s son Abdus Salam Poshari?

Witness: yes

Defence: Do you know Shahiduddin Poshari’s son Jahangir Poshari?

Witness: yes
Defence:Do you know Kafiluddin Ukil’s son Mannan Ukil of Badura village?

Witness: yes, but don’t know his father Kafiluddin.

Defence: Do you know Abu Saleh Babul of Badura village?

Witness: yes

Defence: How old is he?

Witness: I never asked. I guess more than 50 years.

Defence: He passed his SSC exam from Parerhat school in 1972

Witness: I can’t tell. I wasn’t in Parerhat then.

Defence: West of Manik Poshari’s is Moslemuddin Poshari’s house.

Witness: No, (it’s next to Sayedee’s in-law’s house)

Defence: East of Manik Poshari’s is Hanif Talukder and Tota Howlader’s house.

Witness: half km from there.

Defence: There are three alleys in Parerhat Bazaar?

Witness: yes, in north-south direction

Defence: In which alley is Masum Store located?

Witness: In the middle alley facing east.

Defence: What’s the width of the road between Masum Store and the shop opposite to it?

Witness: around 20 ft.

Defence: You’d said your family owned the shop. Who looked after it?

Witness: Nurul Haque Moulovi had rented it from us.

Defence: Who ran the shop on the opposite end?

Witness: Motaleb

Defence: In mid June (of 1971), Motaleb’s shop was open on the market day?

Witness: yes

Defence: Was there any store on south and north of Masum Store?

Witness: There was no shop on the north side of Masum Store at that time. But on market days people (sellers) used to sit on Bamboo platforms. There were three stores in the south end at that time.

Defence: Were those shops open in the mid June?

Witness: I can’t remember

Defence: Do you know names of the owners?

Witness: Sekander Ali Sheikh was one. I can’t remember names of the other two.

Defence: You’d said something to Nurul Haque Moulavi. Where was he then, inside the shop?

Witness: He was walking past me to open the shop.

Defence: He’d opened the shop while you were there?

Witness: I left the place before he’d opened.

Defence: Were there shops on North-south corner of Motaleb’s shop?

Witness: There were no permanent shops, but makeshift ones on shed.

Defence: A few more shops were there a bit further on the south?

Witness: Yes 2-3

Defence: your house is in Kajipur?

Witness: Yes my ancestral home.

Defence: where were you on the morning of May 7?

Witness: I was at home in the morning. Went out later.

Defence: When did the Pakistani military reach Parerhat?

Witness: Around 9 to 9:30

Defence: When had they set camp in Parerhat Bazaar?

Witness: At around 12:30-1 pm

Defence: How long did it take them to dig holes in 30-35 shops to get gold?

Witness: I can’t say
Adjournment took place. After lunch the chief prosescutor raised an application regarding 2 witnesses who he alleged had been threatened. The tribunal chairman said that he could directly inform the IG of police to take action.

The chairman asked whether he was raising this to just give notice to us or (for us to take) action, and the chief prosecution said, 'To take action'

Chairman passed an order
An application has been filed by prosecution praying for order to give protection and take action against concerned person who have given threat to witnesses through mobiles phones. The phone no. has been noted. Upon hearing the Chief Prosecutor, we are inclined to send a copy of this petition to IG of police along with our order for taking proper action. With this the application is disposed of. The prosecution is directed to give a copy of this application by tomorrow.

Cross-examination then continued
Witness: When did you come to know of holes being dug?

Witness: In late afternoon

Defence: When did you come to know of 30-35 shops being looted

Witness: In the evening

Defence: When did you come to know of 22 seers of gold being looted from Makhan Saha’s shop?

Witness: In the evening

Defence: Nagarbashi Saha’s shop is in the eastern alley’s southern end, facing west?

Witness: yes

Defence: late Sultan Talukder’s shop is in eastern alleys southern end, facing east.

Witness: not true, it faces west

Defence: Do you know the names of owners of those 30-35 shops which were looted?

Witness: no

Defence: You’d mentioned a basket, made of bamboo.

Witness: yes

Defence: You’d said that the market sits mostly in the afternoon.

Witness: On Thursday and Sunday from morning until 4pm.

Defence: It was crowded on market days.

Witness: It used to be less crowded back then.

Defence: You’d received a revolver from you brother-in-law. Did he give it to you or did you bring it from?

Witness: I took it when he came to our house.

Defence: Was Sayedee Saheb walking along the middle of the road, or along its west or east side?

Witness: The place where I was standing, from there he was walking along east side of the road towards south.

Defence: Were there commuters on the road?

Witness: yes

Defence: Sayedee Saheb is taller than you.

Witness: yes

Defence: So it would have been impossible for you to see what’s on his head.

Witness: not true

Defence: How far is Chitalia village from your house?

Witness: Quarter of a km.

Defence: From your house in the town?

Witness: almost 1.5 km eastwards

Defence: How far from your home is Shahiduddin Poshari’s house that had been burnt down?

Witness: around 1km.

Defence: When did you come to know of Manik Poshari’s house being burnt?

Witness: Around 11am-12pm on 8 May while I was on my way back from Parerhat Bazaar.

Defence: Did you visit the spot on the same day or on the next day?

Witness: Went 1.5 to 2 hours after

Defence: Because Posharis’ property had been burnt down, Goni Poshari had seized Abdur Razzak Rajakar and Sekander Shikder after independence.

Witness: not true

Defence: Goni Poshari had shot Abdur Rajjak to death and handed Sekander Shikder over to the police on people’s request.

Witness: not true

Defence: You didn’t tell the Investigation Officer that you used to keep revolver for safety, but had mentioned it in your witness statement.

Witness: I can’t remember

Defence: You didn’t tell the Investigation Officer about Nurul Haque Moulavi

Witness: not true

Defence: You didn’t tell the Investigation officer that from Masum store you went and stayed around Shahizuddin Moulavi’s store.

Witness: not true

Defence: You also didn’t tell the Investigation officers that Nagarbashi Saha’s shop was converted into office of Paanch Tahbil.

Witness: not true

Defence: You didn’t tell the Investigation Officer that Maulana Nasim’s father Sultan’s stockroom was used as another shop.

Witness: not true

Defence: You didn’t mention Bhanu Saha in the statement given to the Investigation Officer

Witness: not true

Defence: You didn’t mention Dr. Sudhir Chandra Roy and Gouranga Chandra Roy in the statement given to the Investigation Officer

Witness: I can’t remember

Defence: You didn’t mention in the statement that local Jamaat leader Mokarram Hossain Kabir had visited you.

Witness: not true

Defence: You didn’t mention in the statement the date on which Manik Saha;s house was attacked.

Witness: I did

Defence: “The basket had pitcher in it”. You didn’t tell the Investigation Officer about the pitcher.

Witness: not true

Defence: It’s not true that Allama Delwar Hossain Sayedee had founded the Peace Committee of Parerhat

Witness: it’s true

Defence: It’s not true that Delwar Hossain Sayedee had formed the Razakar force along with Madrasa students and Chatra Sangha members.

Witness: It’s true

Defence: It’s not true that Delwar Hossain Sayedee had identified for the Pakistani military the shops to be looted

Witness: it’s true

Defence: It’s not true that someone had visited you in 1986 to take your permission for Sayedee’s Mahfil

Witness: it’s true

Defence: Whatever you’ve said about your observation when you’d been to the Parerhat Bazaar in mid-June, 1971 is not true.

Witness: it’s true

Defence: Allama Delwar Hossain Sayedee was not around Parerhar or Pirojpur area on 8 May and in mid June of 1971.

Witness: He was in Parerhat.

Defence: When did you come to the tribunal for your witness statement.

Witness: The first two days, yesterday and today.

Defence: when did you start off from home?

Witness: 3-4 days before I was present here.

Defence: You were under Prosecution’s supervision and they have trained you thoroughly.

Witness: not true

Defence: You weren’t 21 years old during the liberation war.

Witness: I was

Defence: Were you in your area during 1971-1973 ?

Witness: I wasn’t there permanently. Sometimes I would visit.

Defence: You didn’t tell the Investigation Officer about carpenter Tayeb Ali

Witness: I can’t remember

Defence: you are a supporter and activist of the political party currently in power

Witness: It’s true that I am a supporter

Defence: Since Allama Delwar Hossain Sayedee is a central leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, with government assistance, out of political revenge and jealousy, you have made false accusations and filed a false case against him by giving false statement

Witness: not true

Cross-examination ended. Defence lawyer remarked that the witness has been trained well so that not many contradictions have been found)

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