Wednesday, February 1, 2012

3 Jan 2012: Ninth witness statement

Before the ninth witness came to give evidence, the proceedings started with Qader Molla’s counsel, Fariduddin Khan telling the tribunal that they has received the statement of witnesses but without the investigative report and the formal charge. He reads out Rule 29 of the Rules of Proceedings which states that: ‘29. (1) The Tribunal shall take cognizance of an offence against any accused upon examination of the formal charge, the Investigation report, the papers, documents and the evidence submitted by a Prosecutor in support thereof, if they disclose a prima facie case for trial of the accused.

Justice Nizamul Huq, tribunal chairman told him to look at section 9(3) of the Act which the chief prosecutor then read out. This states: 'The Chief Prosecutor shall, at least three weeks before the commencement of the trial, furnish to the Tribunal a list of witnesses intended to be produced along with the recorded statement of such witnesses or copies thereof and copies of documents which the prosecution intends to rely upon in support of such charges.'

Nizamul Huq then said that, the prosecution will submit the documents on which they would like to rely upon. Investigative report never comes to the trial, so it will not be be relied upon.

Tajul Islam then said, I have never heard that any trial to take place without the defence lawyers having a copy of the investigation report.

The tribunal chairman then said that the prayer had been refused.

Islam then said that he had not finished making his prayer. He said that ‘Isn’t charge sheet available in any other tribunal of Bangladesh? It is not specifically mentioned anywhere that I won’t get my charge sheet.’

The tribunal chairman said that an accused gets a certified copy of the charge sheet, but that is different. In relation to the investigation report, he said one has to understand whether you are entitled to get that copy or not.

Islam asked why should the accused be prohibited from getting it? The Tribunal chairman said that there was no law requiring it

Mizanul Islam for the defence then said that the copy (of the investigation report) which they have submitted to the court and upon which the charge sheet has been prepared should be given to the defense. This is customary.

Haider Ali, for the Prosecutor, said that the defence should come with an application to receive documents on behalf of the accused Abdul Quader Molla. After the hearing then the court can decide. Otherwise raising a point suddenly and having a long discussion on that, is a waste of time. Let it be brought forth in a proper way.

Islam said that my reply to this is, that if we submit application on all matters, prosecution will say that we’re doing this to delay justice. If these issues can be sorted out by discussion, there’s no need to bring applications. Accused won’t be prejudiced if it’s (investigation report) not given to the accused, but no one will be prejudiced if it is given.

The chairman then said that the court would think about the issue.

There was then an exchange between Fariduddin Khan for the defence and the tribunal chairman about why the defence had not collected a copy of the charge application. From the discussion it turned out that when the defence lawyers collected a copy of the papers relating to Molla, the registrar only gave the lawyer a copy of the statements. When the lawyers came back to collect a copy of the charges and the investigation report, the registrar said that he was only going to give a copy of the charge application, and so the lawyers refused to take any document at all.

The ninth witness Md Altaf Hossain Howlader, aged 58, was then called. Haider Ali then took his evidence in chief. The cross examination, which started after this, is dealt with in a seperate post
Prosecution: Where were you in 1971?

Witness: I was at home in my village Tengrakhali of Parerhat.

Prosecution: Military had come to your region during the liberation war. What do you know about the events that had happened then?

Witness: On 7th May of 1971, Pakistani army came to Parerhat. A week before that, at Sekander Shikder’s direction, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, Maulana Moslemuddin and Danesh Ali Molla had formed the Peace Committee in Parerhat. Later on, at Sayedee’s direction, Razakar force was formed by the same people. Then Pakistani army looted 30-35 shops at Parerhat Port. Pakistani military had set up their camp in Parerhat Rajlaxmi School.
Razakars lived in Fakir Dash’s building in Parerhat Bazaar. They committed everything (crimes) such as arson, plunder, rape in Parerhat and its surrounding villages. I went to my uncle’s place in Umedpur village on 2 June, 1971. I saw from the road Pakistani army and many Razakars including Delwar Hossain Sayedee entering into the Hindu locality of Umedpur. On watching them, I took shelter behind a bush on the roadside. Those people - Pakistani military, Razakars including Delwar Hossain Sayedee - looted the houses of the Hindus. Then they had set 18-20 houses on fire.

In the meantime, Razakars had strapped a man called Bisha Bali to a coconut tree and beaten him up. Meanwhile, Delwar Hossain Sayedee was discussing something with the military. Then Sayedee said, “Shoot him”. One of the Razakars shot with an instrument with a long barrel. I don’t know whether that was pistol or rifle. As soon as he was shot, Bisha Bali cried loudly, saying ‘ma’ (mother). I became terrified and went deep inside the woods.

Afterwards I returned to my uncle’s place. In the afternoon many people came to see the burnt ruins. They were enquiring about Bisha Bali’s body. Many including me have seen blood marks over there. I heard the women discussing that he (Bisha Bali’s body) had been thrown into the canal. One day in mid-June I went to Parerhat Bazaar for shopping. On the western end of the Bazaar are fish sellers. Over there I saw Delwar Hossain Sayedee, few Razakars and other people dismantling a shop, Madan Saha’s shop. Then he had taken it to his father-in-law Yunus Munshi’s place.

Witness identifies the accused, Sayedee saying he is partly visible behind the dock.

Prosecution: Did you give statement before Mr. Helaluddin?

Witness: Yes

No comments:

Post a Comment