Sunday, February 26, 2012

25 Jan 2012: Sixteenth witness

After the cross examination of witness number 15, the tribunal Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq then asked the prosecution to produce the next witness - witness number 16. His evidence in chief was then taken by the prosecutor.
Prosecution: What is your name?

Witness: My name is Julfikar Ali.

Prosecution: How old are you?

Witness: I am 59 years old.

Prosecution: Where were you in 1971? What did you do then?

Witness: I was at Bagarpara in Jessore. Then I took part in the freedom fight under the command of Major Manjur of Sector No. 8.

Prosecution: When did you come back to your area?

Witness: After the victory.

Prosecution: What did you do then?

Witness: We, all the freedom fighters from Bagarpara, started to unite at Bagarpara. Then we initiated search to find out rajakars. Then we came to know that at Roushan Ali’s house, who was one of our friends, a man took shelter. We saw the man with Raushan Ali at Bagarpara marketplace. Then we tried to know the identity of that man and came to know from the local people that the man had been hid at Roushan’s house. Mr Solaiman, who was the Commander of Bagarpara freedom fighters (now expired) discussed with us about the matter and then ordered us bring that guy before him. Then we cordoned Raushan Ali’s house, however, we did not find that guy. He fled already then. As did not find him, we asked Raushan Ali about him. He replied under pressure that the guy was Delawar Hossain Sayedee. Then we initiate a search to find him and then came to know that he fled wearing a veil and travelled to Talbaria using bull-cart.

Prosecution: Then did you try to know the further details about the said Delwar Hossain Sayedee?

Witness: Yes, we put pressure on Raushan Ali and he then told us he and said Sayedee used to organize religious meetings together.
Justice AKM Zaheer interrupted at this stage and asked the witness a question:
Judge: Did you not aske Mr Raushan Ali where was Delwar Hossain Sayedee from?

Witness: Yes. Raushan Ali told us he was from Pirojpur.

Prosecution: Did you ask him why Sayedee took shelter at his place?

Witness: Yes, he replied he could not stay at his area.

Prosecution: Why he could not stay at his area?

Witness: I heard from the people that Mr Sayedee took shelter and hid himself at Raushan’s house because he tortured the people of his locality during the war. However, I did not see that.

Judge:  When did you see Sayedee Hossain Sayedee the next time?

Witness: In 2005/06 when he came to Bagarpara for delivering his speech at a religious meeting.

Prosecution: What did Mr Delwar Hossain Sayedee say in his speech?

Witness: Mr Delwar Hossain Sayedee said, “I would not have survived if brother Raushan would not have saved me.”

Prosecution: What Mr Sayedee told then?

Witness: Mr Sayedee called Raushal Ali to the stage then.

Prosecution: Can you please confirm whether Mr Delwar Hossain Sayedee is present here?
The witness stood up and indentified the accused Delwar Hossain Sayedee. And the examination in chief  finished. The judges wanted adjourn the hearing the for lunch recess as it was already 01:15 pm then. However, defence counsel Mizanul Islam wanted to open the cross examination with at least one question so that witness could change his deposition after the lunch break saying that the cross examination had not been started which happened at an earlier occasion in respect of the witness AKMA Awal, MP. The judges agreed and defence counsel Mizanul Islam opened the cross with the following question:
Defence: You are the current General Secretary of Bagmara Upazilla Awami League, right?

Witmess: Yes.
The, Tribunal Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq adjourned the hearing until 02:15 pm. On return, the Defense counsel Mijanul Islam then started to continue his cross-examination.

Defence: Can you tell me the tenure of the previous witness as General Secretary of Bagaharpara Thana Awami League?

Witness: He was in that post for more than 10 years.

Defence: I was asking about the time-frame?

Witness: He was general secretary before 2004.

Defence: Can you remember his earlier posts in Awami League?

Witness: no.

Defence: When you joined Awami League?

Witness: I was a supporter of Awami League from my student life. I was an admirer of this party since the liberation war. I was a member of Bangladesh Chatra League.

Defence: I was asking about the year?

Witness: I cannot remember.

Defence: You were a student in 1971?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: You have told us in your statement that, you heard the speech of the accused in 2005/06 at Baghar para School meeting. How many meetings of four party alliances did you attend in between 2001 and 2006?

Witness: I haven’t counted them.

Defence: did you listen to the whole speech?

Witness: I haven’t heard the whole.

Defence: The accused told the audience about the shelter of Mr. Rawshan Ali, and then requested Rawshan Ali to come to the stage. Were you present at that time?

Witness: Yes. I was.

Defence: Have you heard that part of speech?

Witness: Yes

Defence: Who was presiding over that meeting?

Witness: I cannot remember.

Defence: Who was conducting that meeting?

Witness: I cannot remember.

Defence: Can you remember any other speaker than the accused?

Witness: No

Defence: Are you aware of the fact that, a lot of people listen to the accused speeches in audio and video?

Witness: Yes

Defence: The speech of that certain meeting could have been recorded, are you aware of that?

Witness: I don’t know anything about that.

Defence: The accused spoke about the atrocities in between 7th march, 1971 to 25th march, 1971. The accused talked about Kabuliwala killings and Jhum Jhum pur killings and the torture of the non-bengali speaking people during the non-cooperation movement lead by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He also told that Mr. Rawshan gave him shelter in those days. Did you hear any of that?

Witness: I haven’t heard.

Defence: Who organized the freedom fighters in your locality before the war?

Witness: Our leaders.

Defence: Can you give us some names?

Witness: Our leader was Adv. Rawshan Ali, Shahadat Farazi and may others.

Defence: Shahdat Farazi is dead. Isn’t he?

Witness: Yes. Both of them are dead.

Defence: They are not from Baghar para?

Witness: No

Defence: Who was your leader in Baghar para?

Witness: Late Mr. Solaiman and Mr. Momin were the organizers in Baghar para.

Defence: You have told that an unknown man took shelter in your friend Mr. Rawshan’s house. How you acquire this information?

Witness: From Mr. Rawshan Ali

Defence: When you get that information?

Witness: At the end of the January, 1971. We got information about the accused.

Defence: When did you go to Mr. Rawshan’s house with your group?

Witness: We cordoned that house on the same day right after we discussed this information with our commander.

Defence: How many rooms were in Mr. Rawshan’s house?

Witness: We didn’t have the time to count. We went there to find a razakar not to count the rooms.

Defence: Can you tell us what the pattern of Mr. Rawshan’s house was?

Witness: It was maybe a Bangla Ghar( house with a space in every side of wall).

Defence: Who were with you when you cordoned that house?

Witness: We were 10 or 12 people including me and our commander Mr. Solaiman. However I cannot remember the others now.

Defence: When you went to raid that house?

Witness: In the morning.

Defence: What is the distance between Razbari and Baghar Para?

Witness: Taal baria is approximately 8/10 kilometers on the west from Baghar para.

Defence: There are 10 to 15 different villages in between the places. Aren’t they?

Witness: May be.

Defence: How did you acquired the information about the accused is hiding in Taal baria?

Witness: From Mr. Rawshan Ali.

Defence: Did you sent someone to catch the accused in Taal baria?

Witness: No. I didn’t.

Defence: Which side Mr. Rawshan took in 1971?

Witness: He was neutral.

Defence: Was Mr. Rawshan involved in Waz with the accused prior to the liberation war?

Witness: They were friends but I am not aware of their activities.

Defence: Was Mr. Rawshan involved in Waz?

Witness: I am not confirmed about these facts.

Defence: Do you know the accused prior 1972?

Witness: Yes. I know him from 1970.

Defence: What was the accused occupation prior 1971?

Witness: He was a member of a student organization.

NH: Involving in a student organization cannot be a profession.

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: Did the accused take shelter with his family in Rawshan Ali’s house?

Witness: We didn’t know about that.

Defence: How many brothers Mr. Rawshan have?

Witness: Maybe five. I only know two of them.

Defence: How many razakar did you caught during your raid?

Witness: None.

Defence: Who was the razakar commander in Baghar Para?

Witness: I do not remember.

Defence: Who was the razakar commander in Jessore?

Witness: I forgot the name.

Defence: Is Mr. Rawshan Ali is alive?

Witness: Yes. He came back after pilgrimage to Mecca.
The witness then voluntarily submitted some information about Mr. Rawshan Ali’s truthfulness who is a defense witness. Justice Zaheer drew the attention of the Chief Prosecutor to  this issue and omitted them from tribunal’s proceedings.

Advocate Kafil Uddin Ahmed then took over the cross-examiantion.

Defence: Which year did you pass your S.S.C [exams]?

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: You wrote that in the statement.

Chairman: though he didn’t write that in the chip.

Defence: You are from Ramkantapur. Aren’t you?

Witness: Yes

Defence: Do you know the famous journalist and the local correspondent of Sangbad [newspaper], Mr. Rokon-ud-dowla?

Witness: No. I was tortured in razakar detention during the liberation war. The razakars even cut my skin off.

Defence: Mr. Rokon-ud-dowla is a reputed journalist and author of the book titled ‘Gram Gramantore’. Do you have any idea about this book?

Witness: I do not have anything to say about this.

Defence: Do you know that, he is the local correspondent of Daily Sangbad till today from the liberation?

Witness: I don’t need to know that.

Defence: He won IDE awards, Jessore Shilpi Gosthi Padak and other awards for his contribution in literature and journalism. Are you aware of that?

Witness: I don’t know anything about that.

Defence: Do you know the late CPB leader Adv. Abdur Razzaque?

Witness: No

The tribunal then asked asked the defense about the book Gram Gramantore . He wanted to know whether this book is in the documents and properly submitted. Barrister Tanveer Al-Amin answered that the relevant book was submitted to the court which is Mukti Juddehe Jesorre by the same author. The defense was trying to put the fact that, Mr. Rokon-ud-Dowla has some other significant books too.

Defence: Do you know about Mukti Juddehe Jesorre which is about the liberation struggle in Jessore locality?

Witness: No

Defence: Your name is in that book as a listed razakar on page 168. Is it true?

Witness: They can write anything they want. If they wrote that, I was a razakar then they must have written wrong. They must have lied. My lord, can I say something about this?

Justice Zaheer: Yes. We will hear you.

Witness: I was detained in Bagharpara police station and was tortured to almost death by the razakar during the liberation war. They tortured me because I was a freedom fighter. I have seen the unspeakable agony the accused caused to the people of Pirozpur.

Justice NH: this book is wrong about the facts?

Witness: Off course, my lord.

Defence: Your son (Tuhin) got a job in this tenure of the current ruling party as a MLSS in the Health and Family Planning ministry?

Witness: I am a freedom fighter so he got quota privilege.

Defence: Do you get allowance as a freedom fighter?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Were you and Mr. Solaiman in the same group of freedom fighters?

Haider Ali of the prosecution team tried to raise a point at this moment but Justice Nassim ordered him to remain silent.

Witness: He was a freedom fighter but we were not in the same group.

Defence: My lord, the whole statement of this witness in the court is contradictory with his statement to the Investigation Officer. There are two things that match. They are respectively; the accused was hiding and the mention of an oxcart.

Justice Zaheer: We have to check it. Let me rephrase, did you tell the investigation officer about joining the liberation war and fighting for the country under the command of Major Manjoor of sector 8 during the war?

Witness: Yes. I have told that.

Defence: My lord, every fact is contradictory

Justice Zaheer: We will record the witness now and you can cross-check the facts when the IO will be here.

Defence: My lord, everything is contradictory and even the mention of the oxcart!

Justice Nassim: Yes, it is.

Defence: The statement you have given to the tribunal is not true. Is it?

Witness: It is true.

Defence: You didn’t give this same statement to the IO. Did you?

Witness: Yes. I have given the same statement.

Defence: You lied about the meeting of the accused with Mr. Rawshan Ali at Bagharpara in 2005/2006. Did you?

Witness: No. I didn’t.

Defence: Did you give this statement to anyone else?

Witness: No. [The witness voluntarily added that, there wasn’t any court till this tribunal. Due to this circumstance, it is his first statement about the accused.]

Defence: Did you write any letter to any authority during the previous Awami regimes?

Witness: No

Defence: Did anybody impede you?

Witness: None.

Defence: Have you built a luxurious house in Mohiron municipality with the support of the ruling party?

Witness: It is a one storied building!

Defence: Have you given your statement against the accused who is a political opponent of the ruling political party to gain support, help and other profits from the government?

Witness: No.

Defence: This whole statement of yours is a piece of fabrication. Is it?

Witness: No

Defence: Are you a freedom fighter?

Witness: Yes
The tribunal finished with this witness and the counsels got involved in an argument about a witness list which was given by the prosecution to the defense.
Defence: My lord, the prosecution is not producing witness in accordance with their list. The list doesn’t match the witness list.

Justice Zaheer: Did you draw the attention of the tribunal?

Defence: My lord, these two witnesses and Dr. Sarafat Ali are the only ones that match in the given list.

Haider Ali: My lord, they are from the seizure list.

Justice Zaheer: Are their statements relevant to the formal charges?

Defence: No, My lord.

Chairman: How many names are there in total?

Defence: 132, but they have given us a list of 68 witnesses.

Chairman: What is this? Why this was given to the defense? We will ask the prosecution.

Defence: My lord, they have given us a list of witnesses for this case and it was given to us on 04/09/2011. We have raised this point yesterday too.

Chairman: Mr. Sayed Hayder Ali, you will give us an explanation after consulting chief prosecutor and your team.
Then the tribunal was adjourned for the day.

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