Sunday, February 26, 2012

24 Jan 2012: Fifteenth witness statement

Defence counsel Tajul Islam came to the dais and submitted his application seeking a privileged meeting with the accused in the jail [not clear which one] to take place on Saturdays. However, Tribunal Chairman Justice said that this was not possible as the Tribunal has already fixed a privileged meeting with another accused. After a long discussion, the defence finally agreed to hold privileged meetings on 3rd, 10th and 17th February 2012 between 09:30 am to 12:30 pm. Defence counsel then provided the names of 3 counsels who could attend and they were- (1) Farid Uddin Khan, (2) Sajjad Ali Chowdhury and (3) M Tazul Islam.

Tribunal Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq said that they will pass an order with respect to that matter and that the conditions will be same as the previous orders.

The tribunal then turned to the trial against Sayedee, and the Bench clerk called for the next witness to attend.

Cheif Prosecutor Golam Arif Tipu then requested that Tribunal adjourn proceedings until 2pm as the prosecutor Haider Ali was stuck in traffic.

Justice Zaheer said, “Mr. Chief Prosecutor, the prosecution is a team headed by you. Engage another prosecutor to do the examination in chief.”

Chief Prosecutor Golam Arif Tipu replied, “Mr Ali is the most efficient person do it.”

Justice Zaheer then said, “Ask any other prosecutor to at least start the examination in chief. Mr. Ali can continue it as soon as he arrives in the Tribunal”.

In response, Chief Prosecutor Golam Arif Tipu informed the tribunal that the witnesses are too tired as they only reached to Dhaka last night after 10 pm and that is why they have not reached the tribunal yet; they are on the way to the Tribunal now. He then requested again to the Tribunal to fix the time for the examination in chief of the witness from 2 pm.

Tribunal Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq then said, “Last hearing you told us the same thing! Why did the witness came to Dhaka last night knowing he has to be present in the Tribunal today?”

The Defence counsel Tazul Islam then came to the dais and then said, “My Lord, as far as I understand from the prosecution submission, there will be a new witness at 2 pm; not the said Modhu Sudan Ghorami that they told you and us earlier. We do not know who he is as they have not provided the list day before. How shall we do the cross examination without any preparation?”

Tribunal Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq said, “That is another fault. What happened to the witness Madhu Sudan Ghorami Mr. Chief Prosecutor?”

Cheif Prosecutor Golam Arif Tipu replied, “He is in the hospital; suffering from cardiac problems.”

Justice Zaheer then replied, “Why did you no tsupply the defence the names of next possible witness then? Modhu Sudan Ghorami is of 80 years old. He may suffer subsequent physical problems. Shall we then wait for him?”

Chief Prosecutor Golam Arif Tipu admitted that there has been a unfortunate mistake by not providing the defence the information

Tribunal Chairman J ordered the prosecution to give all 15 names of the witness they have given to the bench member. And asked the Chief Prosecutor, “How many witnesses you have now got in Dhaka apart from the Modhu Sudan Ghorami?”

Cheif Prosecutor Golam Arif Tipu replied they got 4 witnesses.

Tribunal Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq then ordered the prosecution to bring all 4 witnesses in the Tribunal at 2 pm and give the names to the defence immediately and other 11 names by the end of the day.

The hearing was adjourned until 2 pm.

When the hearing restarted, the prosecutor Haider Ali called the witness

Prosecution: The witness is Md. Solaiman Hossain. He is from Baghar Para, Jessore. He is the 62th in our witness list. He will be the 15th witness in this case from prosecution.

Defense: My lord, the prosecution submitted four names earlier but the name of this witness is not in the first two.

Justice Chairman: Yes, we were supposed to be hearing from the first two witnesses in this session.

Defense: This is not the first time. They have been doing this  the whole time. This is the 8th time in this case, my lord. By doing this, they are putting obstacles in the path of a fair trial.

Chairman: Let’s see what the witness has got to say. We are here for a fair trial and there will be a fair trial.

Defense: How will this happen if they produce every witness in the last minute?

Chairman: Don’t bother with this. Let’s hear the witness first.

Prosecution: Who are you (defense) to express disapproval of us? We are not bound to disclose our witness to the defense counsels according to any law.

Defense: The witnesses who are attending the tribunal, you are

Chairman: Defense, we are wasting time here.

Defence (Mizanul): My lord, they put Abdur Razzaque as witness in the list in the morning. However, his name is not in the witness list given to us by the prosecution.

Prosecution: His name was in the statement and also in the seizure list.

Defence (Mizanul): Why you didn’t let me finish? I wasn’t talking about the statement or the seizure list. I was talking about the list you gave us. It consisted of 68 people but A.Razzaque was not there.

Justice Zaheer: What list are you talking about?

Defence (Mizanul): The prosecution sent us a list of their witnesses which consists of 68 people.

Justice Zaheer: When they gave you the list?

Defence (Mizanul): At the beginning of the proceedings.

Defense counsel Barrister Tanveer Al-Amin then raised a point that the prosecutor Mr. Ali didn’t confirm this witness even last night when he called him for the confirmation.

Prosecution: We are doing everything by the books. Prosecution is not bound to confirm anything regarding witness to the defense.

Defence (Mizanul): My lord, the witness is not from Pirozpur. He has come from another locality and that will affect the continuity of the cross examination.

Prosecution: My lord, they should be prepared. We can produce any witness as we wish. There is no law about this.

Chairman: Well, there isn’t any law but..

Defence (Mizanul): My lord, what about the discussion we had today morning? We were asked by the tribunal to prepare within the lunch period and we did that on previously decided witnesses. Why this now? This is no fair justice!

Defence (Tajul): This is not fair, my lord.

Defence (Mizanul): My lord, how can we cross-exam the witness without any preparation?

Justice Zaheer: We are not pressing you to cross-exam. Maybe, you even don’t need to cross-exam this witness.

Defence (Mizanul): This happened earlier; you enquired with the prosecution about Modhusudhon Ghorami. They didn’t provide any sort of information.

Justice Zaheer: We asked about the health conditions. The witness has to be physically capable for a session. At least we can hear our new witness.

Justice Chairman: according to judicial scope, you will be given every fair chance.

The witness Md. Solaiman Hossain then took the oath. His age is 60.
Prosecutor: What can you tell us about the election of 1970?

Justice Zaheer: Learned prosecutor, you are not cross-examining the witness here. This is your witness. We should remember Adv. Ahsanul Hoq from yesterday. He told us about this situations where a lawyer who usually works as a defense counsel gets mixed up in his role as prosecutor.

Prosecution: My lord, I am aware of that. I was asking questions to get the facts and certification quick and right.

Witness: some days before the 1970 election there was an election meeting in our locality organized by Jamat-I-Islami to support their candidate.

Prosecution: Who were present in that certain meeting?

Witness: MNA candidate from Jamat-I-Islami, Moshiul Azam was present. The accused gave a speech on that meeting. The accused was abusing Awami League and called Jogobondhu instead of Bangabandhu which created a scene. I was not in the meeting but heard the speech because I was nearby. Some people from our locality also told me about this abuse in the meeting and their dissatisfaction regarding it.

Justice Zaheer: Some boys from your locality discussed with you about their dissatisfaction regarding the accused speech and that’s why you know him. Is it right?

Witness: Yes. The liberation war started after the election and the accused lived in Dohakhola at Mr.Rawshan Ali’s house after the war.

Prosecution: Why did the accused live there?

Witness: We came to know that, he had to flee from his home because of his actions against the freedom fighters during the liberation war. This was the cause of his taking refuge in the home of Rawshan Ali. In 2005 or 2006 he came to a religious congregation in Baghar para Pilot School. At that congregation, he spoke of Rawshan Ali and asked if he is still alive or present. The accused told the listeners about Rawshan Ali’s help in his hour of need. Then Rawshan Ali responded among the crowd. Rawshan then requested by the accused to sat on the stage and embrace the accused. At the end of the meeting, the accused went to the house of Mr. Rawshan.

Prosecution: Can you identify the accused?

Witness: Is the accused present here?

Justice Zaheer: The identification isn’t really necessary. Do not waste time.

Prosecution: As you prefer my lord.

Justice Zaheer: Identification is needed in the cases of obscure identities.
The chairman then asked the defense to start their cross-examination.
Defence (Mizanul): My lord, what can I examine? This is about a meeting happened in 1969.

Justice Chairman: in January 1969 to be precise.

Defence (Mizanul): My lord, we need a day to prepare. Please, grant us a day.

Witness: sir, I had some urgent things in my home. Can I get some break to finish those works?

Justice Zaheer: you cannot go to your home before the end of your certification. Make a call and ask your family to postpone it.

Defence (Mizanul): My lord, we have to check the charge sheet and other things. We won’t be taking much time but we have to prepare and need to satisfy us. Without satisfying myself, how can I satisfy my client?

Justice Zaheer: Well, then ask one question.

Defence (Mizanul): Ok, My lord.

Defence (Mizanul): Can you remember the date of that meeting?

Witness: No.

Defence (Mizanul): My lord, I will be asking another one with your permission?

Justice Chairman: Yes.

Defence (Mizanul): Who was conducting that meeting?

Witness: Probably Hossain Munshi.
Justice Zaheer then instructed the prosecution to send a copy of their list of witness to the defense. He scolded the prosecution for their inefficiency in this regard.

Defense counsel Avd. Tajul Islam complained to the tribunal that these documents was not handed to them by prosecution as per the instructions.

Prosecution: You will have them in the morning.

Defence (Tajul): Why tomorrow morning? Give us them today. In that case, we will have at least a night to get preparation.

Justice Zaheer: Well you two solve this problem at Prosecutors office over a cup of coffee.

Defence (Tajul): My lord, I refuse to go there.

Justice Zaheer: why?

Defence (Tajul): The office workers of the prosecutors misbehaved earlier. They kept us waiting intentionally. Moreover, they even abuse us repeatedly.

Chairman: you go there today and report to me if there is any sort of misbehavious happens there.

Defence (Tajul): not me, my lord.

Prosecution: I’m inviting all of the defense counsels to my chamber for tea.

Chairman: Adv. Tajul you must go there.

After this the court was adjourned for the day.

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