Wednesday, February 1, 2012

4 Jan 2012: Altaf cross exam day 2

Justice Nizamul Haque told everyone present at the tribunal that one of the three judges involved in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was present.

Zead-al-Malum for the prosecution started by bringing to the tribunal’s attention what he said was ‘the press passing incessant comment regarding the prosecutors and the trial. The matter is crossing the limit. Naya Diganta has reported, “The witness looked at Maulana Sayedee and said, “I don’t recognize him.”” Naya Diganta is successively publishing misinformation.’

Justice Nizamul Haque asked for the copy of Naya Diganta (known to be a pro-Jamaat paper, and owned by a Jamaat leader) in Malum’s hand and reads through it. He calls the journalist Mehedi Hasan, to come forward.
Justice Nizamul Haque: You’ve written this report.

Mehedi Hasan: While identification he’d (Sayedee) said I can’t recognise the person at the dock.

Justice Nizamul Haque: You are asserting this.

Mehedi Hasan: Yes.

Justice Nizamul Haque: You can seek advice from your friends and lawyers.
Mehedi Hasan goes to Defense counsel and speaks to Tajul Islam and Mizanul Islam (Sayedee's defence lawyers).
Mehedi Hasan: After his statement was made, the witness looked around and said that he couldn’t identify the person sitting behind the dock.

Zaheer: He said, “I can’t see the person at the dock clearly”.

Mehedi Hasan: I may have made a mistake, my lord.

Tajul Islam (Defense): He’s asked for my assistance. He may have heard it wrong.

Justice Nizamul Haque: This has come in a heading. He has asserted this wording. We have seen him looking at you and the witness.

Tajul Islam (Defense): He’s written what we’ve heard first.

Mizanul Islam (Defense): I can make a correction, Sir.

Justice Zaheer: You should be clear before publishing this sort of news, not from the prosecutors, but from the defense.

Mehedi Hasan: I’ve made a mistake, Sir.

Justice Zaheer: If you cross-check and discuss these with someone else, such mistakes can be avoided.
Justice Nizamul Haque then passed the following order:
Mr Zead-al-Malum handed over a copy of Naya Diganta to the tribunal submitting that wrong news has been published in the paper regarding proceeding of the tribunal. Referring to the news cutting which stated that, “The witness looked at Maulana Sayedee and said, “I don’t recognize him.”” No where in the proceeding the said witness, Mr. Altaf Hossain Howlader stated anything regarding that statement in the newspaper. Having perused the whole report and statement of witness yesterday, this is a wrong and false report published in the newspaper.

After that we called Mr Mehedi Hasan who appeared before us and tried to remember what happened yesterday. There was a misunderstanding ……. He expressed regret and submitted further that tomorrow an explanation will be published in the same newspaper.

Having considered the submission, we accept his apology and exonerate him for writing this report. We are of the view that caution should be given to the reporter and the newspaper concerned so that they remain cautious….Previously also some reports of this newspaper has been brought before the tribunal. The tribunal had taken it leniently. However, Mr Mehedi Hasan and the authority of the newspaper, Naya Diganta is directed to publish a clarification in the same newspaper tomorrow in the front page. With this, this matter is disposed of.
Kafiluddin Chowdhury continued his second day of the cross examination of witness number nine. (First day of cross examination is posted here)
Defence: When is your birthday?

Witness: I can’t tell right now.

Defence: What did you say your occupation was?

Witness: Farming

Defence: To be enlisted in the voter list of 2008, did you have your photo taken and filled up the form?

Witness: Yes

Defence: You wrote your age and occupation in there.

Witness: Yes

Defence: Do you remember what age and occupation you’d put down then?

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: For how long have you been the secretary of Awami League?

Witness: I can’t tell.

Defence: You Awami League members organised processions and meetings demanding the arrest of Maulana Delwar Hossain Sayedee.

Witness: Most Bangladeshis demanded for the trial of war criminals. I am one of them.

Defence: I am saying you as an Awami League activist…

Witness: I told you most Bangladeshis wanted that.

Justice Zaheer: Did you take part in the activities demanding Sayedee’s arrest?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Following your demand, you have testified against Delwar Hossain Sayedee before the judicial magistrate in Pirojpur court, before the IO, and in this tribunal.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: That means you have keen interest in this procedure.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: His arrest is a victory for you? (No answer given).

Defence: Do you know the date of his arrest?

Witness: No.

Defence: Do you the month?

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: Are you aware of the mutiny that shook the nation after your Awami League had come to power?

Witness: Many had died.

Justice Nizamul Haque: This won’t be recorded.

Defence: Let me ask the next question and then you can decide.

Defence: Do you remember the date of the BDR mutiny?

Witness: No.

Defence: You are a farmer and you buy fertilizer. Do you know that after the present government has come to power, fertilisers are being sold through dealers?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: At what rate is each packet of urea (50Kg pack) sold in your area?

Witness: Tk 1000

Defence: Do you know what the rate was 6-7 months back?

Witness: I’ve heard that the price has increased after the budget. (Later said) Tk 700 per pack of 50 Kg urea.

Defence: None of the two prices you’ve mentioned is right.

Witness: It is right.

Defence: What did Mr Nabeen do before independence?

Witness: Business.

Defence: Has Mr Nabeen’s house in your area been destroyed in SIDR?

Witness: I don’t know what happened to him home in the village. His house in Parerhat wasn’t affected greatly.

Justice Nizamul Haque: For both the sides (prosecution and defense), we need to set a time limit (for cross-examination).

Defence: Where did Bisha Bali’s funeral take place?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Danesh Ali Molla was the secretary of the Peace Committee of Parerhat union.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Who was the Razakar commander?

Witness: It’s easier if you mention names (meaning he can confirm or negate). (Later said) Razakar was formed at the direction of Delwar Hossain Sayedee.

Defence: They had salary and a gazette.

Witness: I am not aware.

Defence: How much did your elder brother study?

Witness: Same as me.

Defence: You brothers didn’t take part in the liberation war.

Witness: No.

Defence: Your home had not been attacked and looted.

Witness: No.

Defence: Both of you brothers now live in the same house.

Witness: In the same room (residential unit?).

Defence: Is your house made of concrete?

Witness: Of tin and wood.

Defence: Your name is Md Altaf Hossain Howlader. You can’t write the four words in your name on one line.

Justice Nizamul Haque: What are you trying to refer to by saying this? Is he sick; or his handwriting isn’t pretty or he can’t write?

Defence: I wanted to suggest that he’d never been to school.

Justice Nizamul Haque: Then say that first.

Defence: He’s mentioned studying in Year Three. His handwriting should have been nice/pretty in that case.

Justice Nizamul Haque: This is a harassing question. You need to ask question in a dignified way.

Justice Kabir: Since three counsels are interrogating, some questions are being repeated. You (KC) are taking advantage of that.

Defence: You have lied about passing Year Three. You cannot sign.

Witness: Let me show you by signing right now.

Defence: Do you know the following people from your area?

Witness: From our Tengrakhali village?

Defence: No, you are from Pirojpur (Pirojpur is the district). Advocate Golam Mustafa

Witness: Don’t know him.

Defence: Journalist Moniruzzaman Nasim. He is the Pirojpur correspondent of Daily Ittefaq.

Witness: Don’t know him.

Defence: Journalist Ziaul Ahsan. He is the district correspondent of New Nation.

Witness: Don’t know him, but heard his name.

Defence: Advocate Mahmud Hossain Shukur. He is the district correspondent of UNB.

Witness: Don’t know him.

Defence: Goutam Roy Chowdhury. He is the Editor of Pirojpur Darpan.

Witness: Don’t know him.

Defence: Journalist SM Parvez. He is the district correspondent of BTV and Jugantor.

Witness: Heard his name.

Defence: Goutam Ranjan Bakshi, correspondent of Sangbad.

Witness: Don’t know him.

Defence: Advocate Shahidullah Khan.

Witness: Don’t know him.

Defence: Jagapriyo Dash, writer and social worker.

Witness: Don’t know him.

Defence: Khan Md Moslemuddin, journalist and litterateur.

Witness: Don’t know him.

Defence: Agraja Kumar Roy, social worker.

Witness: Don’t know him.

Defence: Begum Mohsena, ex-principal of Pirojpur Government School.

Witness: Don’t know her.

Defence: Monica Mandal, member of district council.

Witness: Don’t know her, but have heard her name.

Defence: Journalist MA Rabbani.

Witness: Don’t know him.

Defence: Jamalul Haque Monu, who was the district commander of freedom fighters.

Witness: Don’t know him.

Defence: Amongst those whose names you’ve heard, did they themselves or via others wanted to know from you about the liberation war between the year 2000 and June of 2007.

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: These people had distributed leaflets in your region in search of people who know about the liberation war. Jamalul Haque Monu was responsible for your area.

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: All of the aforesaid were pro-liberation people. They had written a book named Pirojpurer Itihash (History of Pirojpur) after many days of research.

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: You are hiding this fact since the book doesn’t mention Maulana Delwar Hossain Sayedee, despite including names of many Razakars and anti-liberation individuals.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Since your statement is a false one, you haven’t spoken about these in the last 40 years.

Witness: Not true.
Monjur Ahmed Ansari took over the cross examination for the defence.
Defence: You haven’t told the IO regarding 7th May of 1971.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: You haven’t told the IO that the Peace Committee was formed 6-7 days after that date.

Witness: I did.

Defence: In your statement made before the IO, you didn’t mention Delwar Hossain Sayedee.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: You didn’t mention to the IO that after the Peace Committee and Razakar force were formed, Pakistani army looted 30-35 shops and houses at Parerhat Port.

Witness: I did.

Defence: You didn’t mention to the IO that the Razakars used to live in Fakir Dash’s building and they’d conducted arson, plunder, rape in Parerhat and its surrounding villages at Delwar Hossain Sayedee’s direction.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: You didn’t mention it to Mr. Helal (IO) that at around 10-10:30 you saw Pakistani army and Razakars including Delwar Hossain Sayedee entering into the Hindu locality and looting. On watching them, you took shelter behind a bush on the roadside.

Witness: I mentioned.

Defence: You didn’t mention this to the IO, “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 shopkeeper, Madan Saha’s shop. Then he had taken it to his father-in-law Yunus Munshi’s place.”

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Had you been to Hasan Chairman’s house?

Witness: Hasan Howlader’s house.

Defence: Shah Alam Howlder, the present Chairman, is his son and your cousin.

Witness: Yes

Defence: Abdus Salam Howlader is his brother and your cousin.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: He was a freedom fighter.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Between them, who is the older than you?

Witness: Shah Alam is of my age. Abdus Salam Howlader is older than us.

Defence: Is Najem Howlader, who lives west of Bisha Bali’s house, your uncle?

Witness: Step-uncle.

Defence: Does Kashem Howlader belong to the same house (family)?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Do you know Kashem Howlader’s sons Latif and Afzal Howlader?

Witness: Yes

Defence: Do you know Hossain Howlader’s son?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: On the way to Tengrakhali from your uncle’s house, lies Muslimpara (Muslim locality), then Hindupara (Hindu locality), followed by Muslimpara.

Witness: At north of that road, 20-30 Hindu families live. South to that road, where Muslims live, is my uncle Hashem Ali Chairman’s house. It’s adjacent to Hindupara in the centre of Umedpur village.

Defence: The first house, south of the road, is Azim Howlader’s.

Witness: At that time (in 1971), the first house was Jonab Ali Sheikh’s.

Defence: South to Jonab Ali Sheikh’s was Azim Howlader’s house.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: South to Azim Howlader’s was Hashem Ali Howlader’s house.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Do you know Hare Krishna Talukder, son of Sudhangshu Shekhar, from the house where Bisha Bali’s killing had happened?

Witness: No.

Defence: Do you know Jibon, son of Jagat Talukder?

Witness: I knew him.

Defence: Do you know Bimol Bala, son of Satish Bala?

Witness: I knew him.

Defence: Do you know Bidhan, son of Haren Thakur?

Witness: knew him.

Defence: Do you know Shekhar, son of Muken Thakur?

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: Since there were no bushes or wood in that area, you haven’t mentioned to the IO of hiding behind a bush.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: You are aware that when there was arson attack on Bisha Bali’s house, 20-30 Hindu families had taken shelter at your step-uncles Nazem and Latif Howlader’s place.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: How far is your house (in Tengrakhali) from the road before the Hindupara (Umedpur village)?

Witness: approximately 2-3 km.

Defence: It was a mud road and rickshaws rarely travelled on it.

Witness: Although it was a mud road, rickshaws and cars travelled on it.

Defence: Have you met Bisha Bali’s brothers Nirantan Bali and Pabitra Bali?

Witness: I didn’t know them.

Defence: When did you reach Bazaar on the day Madan Saha’s house was dismantled?

Witness: At around 10 or 11 am.

Defence: When did you return?

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: What was the date?

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: What was the month?

Witness: June.

Defence: What was the day?

Witness: Sunday and Thursday were market days. Either of those.

Defence: Which way was Madan Saha’s house?

Witness: Towards east.

Defence: Whose was the shop on the north?

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: Right next to it, whose was the shop on the south?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Whose was the shop facing west in the eastern row before the alley?

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: It (Parerhat Bazaar) becomes crowded on market days.

Witness: Yes

Defence: It was packed on that day.

Witness: Yes

Defence: Who did you meet in the Bazaar on that day?

Witness: I had tea with my cousins.

Defence: Name your cousins.

Witness: Shah Alam, Abdus Salam. Mahtab and Mahbub were also there.

Defence: Delwar Hossain Sayedee being involved with Razakar force and leading them to loot 30-35 shops is a false statement you’ve made.

Witness: It’s true.

Defence: You’ve made a false statement regarding rape, arson and loot committed in Parerhat or its surrounding villages at Sayedee’s command.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: You have lied about going to your uncle’s place on 2nd June, 1971 and spotting Razakars including Delwar Hossain Sayedee on the way.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: You have falsely stated of 18-20 houses being burnt down; beating of Bisha Bali; Delwar Hossain Sayedee speaking to Pakistani soldiers; Sayedee ordering to shoot Bisha Bali; a Razakar killing Bisha Bali; Bisha Bali crying out, ‘ma’; becoming terrified you went inside the woods.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: You’ve lied about returning to your uncle’s place; going back to Bisha Bali’s house again; people enquiring about Bisha Bali’s body; seeing blood marks; women discussing that Bisha Bali’s body had been thrown into the canal.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Bisha Bali was killed in a different way, on a different day, at a different place, in Baleshwar Ghat.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Allama Delwar Hossain Sayedee was not in Pirojpur since the war had broken out until mid-June of 1971.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: You don’t have a job. You work for Awami League. You have given false statement in a false case at the direction of your local Awami League leader, with the hope of government benefits, and to defame Delwar Hossain Sayedee.

Witness: Not true.
The cross examination ended

Haider Ali for the prosecution then stated that they had hoped to present three witnesses today, but that mongst them Mofiz Poshari and Latif Poshari are sick. Mokhles Poshari is on his way.

Justice Nizamul Haque: Is it psychological or physical illness?

Prosecutor: Abdul Latif Howlader. He is feeling sick and uneasy. Witness 11, Mokhles is on his way.

Justice Nizamul Haque: His illness is in no one’s hand. But we don’t want to have a gap tomorrow.

Later it was decided that the trials would continue on the following Sunday.

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