Monday, July 23, 2012

3 Jul 2012: Molla 1st witness testimony

Tribunal Two

The tribunal was due to start hearing witnesses relating to Quader Molla

Please note that between 16 April (when the case was moved to Tribunal two), and 3 July (the beginning of the trial) no detailed notes of proceedings are available. However the key orders/applications involving tribunal two in this period (and tribunal one before) are set out below.
- Prosecution application for charge framing (in tribunal 1)
- Defence response (in tribunal 1)
- Tribunal order to transfer case to tribunal 2
- Tribunal order of Indictment
- Defence review application
- Tribunal order on review application

The defence lawyer Tajul Islam said that several changes have been made to the witness list as well as final information. Even we have not got the statements of the new witnesses. So, we could not take proper preparation.

Mr. Mohammad Ali, the Prosecutor said that statements have been supplied already.

Defense Counsel said that e have only had 35 days to prepare, but the tribunal said that this is enough time.

Then the Defense Counsel prayed time to be prepared well. Honorable justice asked, how many witnesses are there today? Prosecutor replied, one. Defense Counsel then told the tribunal that amongst the witness list there are two ‘Momena’s. We need clarification. Prosecutor said that one is Momena Begum, daughter of Shahid Hazrat Ali, relating to count no. 6 and there is also another

The evidence in chief of Mojaffar Ahmed Khan then started
Prosecutor: What was your condition at the period of Liberation War?

Witness: At the period of Liberation War I was an examinee of S.S.C. examination.

Prosecutor: Describe your role in that period.

Witness: I was the President of Chhatra League at Keraniganj thana of East Pakistan.

Prosecutor: What was your role before Liberation War?

Witness: In the mass revolt of 1969, I along with some students came to Dhaka and actively participated in mass revolt.

Prosecutor: After the mass revolt, what did you do?

Witness: I directly canvassed in favor of Awami League candidate Ashraf Ali Chawdhury for the election of 1970. Besides I canvassed in favor of the candidates of Mohammadpur and Mirpur area, Dhaka.

Prosecutor: Who was the candidate of the opposite party?

Justice: Is this question necessary?

Prosecutor: Yes my Lord, this is necessary.

Witness: Opposite candidate was Golam Azam, Jamaat-e-Islam, Bangladesh.

Prosecutor: Who canvassed in favor of him?

Witness: Quader Molla.
At this moment the Defense Counsel objected about leading question. But honorable Chairman rejected that claim.

Prosecutor: What was your contribution in Liberation War?

Witness: Though Awami League got majority vote, but was prevented to sit in assembly. The meeting of Bangabandhu with Yahya Khan failed and at the inauspicious night of 25th March, the Pakistani Military Force attacked the innocent Bangali people. We prepared to fight after the historical speech of Bangabandhu of 7th March.

Prosecutor: What did you do after 26th March?

Witness: I along with my friends prepared to go to India to participate in Liberation War.

Prosecutor: When did you go and what did you do?

Witness: I started to India along with my 15 friends on May, 1971.

Prosecutor: Where did you go there?

Witness: At first we went to Sonaimury area of Agartola and there at Congress Bhaman entered our name.

Prosecutor: Then?

Witness: By the end of July, we were sent to Laylapur Cantonment of Assam by truck to take arms training.

Prosecutor: What did you do there?

Witness: There we took training to use different types of arms.

Prosecutor: Then?

Witness: After completion of the training, we returned Melagarh of Agartola.

Prosecutor: Then what happened?

Witness: In the leadership of Major Hayder and Captain Halim Chawdhury, we were supplied arms.

Prosecutor: Then?

Witness: With 25 freedom fighters we entered Bangladesh.

Mr. Judge Md. Shahinur Islam said that what is the need of such statements? Don’t waste time of Court.

Md. Ekramul Haquue, the Defense Counsel asked ‘What is the actual allegation?’

Prosecutor: Yes, we are coming to the point. Please describe next.

Witness: We placed our freedom fighters camp at Kolatiya.

Prosecutor: What happened after that?

Witness: During the Liberation War, we first heard the sound of bullet on 25th November. I along with my troop moved to Vaowal Khanbari, Kolatiya, Najirpur of Ghatarchar area. In the meantime, my nephew freedom fighter Osman Gani and my co-fighter Golam Mostofa took one day leave from camp and went to home.Hearing the sound of bullet I started home and on the way to Najirpur, met my father.
At this time Judge Md. Shahinur Islam again expressed his reluctance.

Tajul Islam, defence lawyer said that the witness should be permitted to speak freely.

Witness Mojaffar Ahmed Khan became angry indicating Judge Md. Shahinur Islam that why he has not been given opportunity to speak freely. He said that, why is the tribunal member criticising me? I am a genuine freedom fighter, not a hybrid freedom fighter. Talk with me with proper respect. Here it is breach of Article 102 of the Constitution. My father told me, never go ahead! Mostofa is killed! Osman is killed! Today I’ll not give any more witness. Today please stop here. Without sentiment, there is no freedom fighter. Give me death sentence if I’ve committed contempt to Court.

[The prosecutors tried to cool him down. Mojaffar Ahmed Khan drunk a glass of water and took some time to regain his composure.]

Justice Obaydul Hassan: It would be easier for us if short sentences are used.

Golam Arif Tipu (Chief Prosecutor) then asked the witness to please carry on your statement.

Witness: Father said, don’t move there. Our house has been attacked and burnt. Local Rajakars have killed your co-fighters Osman Gani and Golam Mostafa. Do not open fire with the weapon you have. I said to father, you go to my camp. I look, what can be done.

The attack was started in early morning, at the period of fajar’s azaan and continued till 11 A.M. 57 Hindu and Muslim people were killed in Ghatarchar. Attack was spread from Ghatarchar to Khanbari, then to Boro Bhaowal. There 25 people were killed.

We got information at 11 A.M that Rajakar and Pakistani bahini has left the place. Instead of main road, I went to Bhaowal Khanbari through back side.

Prosecutor: What did you see there?

Witness: I saw my house burning. Dead bodies of Osman Gani and Golam Mostafa were fallen there.

Prosecutor: What did you do there?

Witness: After completing funeral of dead bodies I went to Ghatarchar through the backside road.

Prosecutor: What did you see there?

Witness: There existed horrible situation. All around there was blood and blood, dead body and dead body.

From the local people, I met Tayab Ali and Majid. They were scrutinizing the dead bodies - whether those were Hindus or Muslims. I asked them, who committed these activities?

Prosecutor: What did you find out?

Witness: Abdul Majid told me, at Ghatarchar a meeting was arranged on 23 or 24. There was doctor Jaynal, K. G. Karim Babla, Muktar Hossain, Fayjur Rahman. They arranged this meeting communicating with the leader of Islami Chhatra Sangha Abdul Kader Molla. At that meeting Abdul Kader Molla was present.

Prosecutor: What was decided in the meeting?

Witness: They took decision to kill innocent people and implemented their decision on 25th November 1971.

Prosecutor: After that in which places did you go during the period of Liberation War? As my uncle’s home was at Mohammadpur area, I went there one time during the period of Liberation war.

Prosecutor: Then?

Witness: Physical Training Centre of Mohammadpur which was then used as torture cell of Rajakar and Al Badar Bahinee. On the way of returning, I saw Kader Molla with his companions taking weapons in hand in front of the gate of that torture cell.

Prosecutor: What more do you know?

Witness: The incident of genocide, loot and conflagration at Ghatarchar was mainly leaded by Kader Molla. Local Rajakars did that incident communicating with Kader Molla.

Prosecutor: Now, what do you want?

Witness: I’ve been bearing the grievance against these anti-humanitarian activists since long ago. Through the ‘Ghatok-Dalal Nirmul Komity’ of ‘Shahid Janani’ Jahanara Imam and Kornel Nurujjaman, I also claimed their punishment.

In 2007, at the CJM Court of Dhaka, I filed a case for that purpose the number of which is 17/2007.

Subsequently, thana took it as Ejahar, so it turned into GR Case as Case no. 34 (12) 2007 of Keraniganj thana. Through that case I claimed their exemplary punishment.
Prosecutor: Defense Counsels now cross examine you. You answer question with patience.  Tajul Islam (Defense Counsel): We’ll cross examine after hearing full statement.
Prosecutor: Oh! Another question. can you identify the accused sitting in dock?

Witness: Yes, he is there.

Cross examination then started by Md Ekramul Hack
Defence: Can you show your National ID card?

Witness: The witness then showed his National ID card.

Defense Counsel: What is your date of birth?

Witness: 3rd March, 1953.

Defense Counsel: Were you voter in the election of 1970?

Witness: I can’t remember now.

Tajul Islam (Defense Counsel) then prayed for 2 weeks.

After arguments among honorable Justices and defense counsels Justice A.T.M Fazle Kabir (Chairman) then fixed the next date of 08/7/12 for cross examination.

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