Thursday, September 26, 2013

Quader Molla appeal, day 20: Defence arguments

4 June 2013
To see previous day's proceedings

When Razzaq the defence counsel came to the dais, the CJ reminded him, “Mr Razzaq, you were in the paperbook-2 yesterday.” Razzaq replied, “yes my lord, I was making submission on contradiction by the PW 10. Here none of the PWs in respect of this particular charge mentioned convicted petitioner’s name before the I.O. and both heard the incident from the same source, non-Bangalee driver of the victim named Nizam. Now lets move to PW-10’s deposition at page 6, in the 2nd paragraph.”

CJ reminded him, “Mr Razzaq, you have already showed us this part. I have already marked it.” Razzaq replied, “Previously, I had shown it for different purpose; now I shall show the discrepancies. The source told Molla’s name to PW-5 but he did not tell his name to PW-10.”

Razzaq then moved to the next point. He submitted, “during 1970, only the 10% of population in Mirpur were Bangalees and 90% were Biharees (non-Banglee). The victim was a high profile - a journalist and a lawyer whereas, the Mollah was a student residing in the Sohidullah Hall of University of Dhaka.”

He the referred paragraph 269 (at page 173) of the judgement where the tribunal considered the discrepancies as follows- “In all criminal cases, normal discrepancies are bound to occur in the depositions of witnesses due to normal errors of observation, namely, errors of memory due to lapse of time or due to mental disposition such as shock and horror at the time of occurrence. Thus, exaggerations per se do not render the evidence brittle. However, minor contradictions, inconsistencies, embellishments or improvements on trivial matters which do not affect the core of the prosecution case, should not be made a ground on which the evidence can be rejected in its entirety.“

In relation to such observation by the trial court he argued, “the distance between the places Shantinagar and Arambagh is about 1.25 km to 1.5 km. Such discrepancy should not have been ignored.”

In response to that submission Wahab Mia J. argued, “learned counsel think about the situation in 1971. It was only few minutes distance by car in 1971 because there was no traffic jam then. At present time it that distance might be a factor but it was not the same in 1971.”

Razzaq then submitted, “My lord, I shall now move to charge no 5. Before I start reading out the charge I would like to inform your lordship that the date of incident is 24th April 1971 and the place of incident is village Alubdi on the bank of river Turag. The allegation is killing 24 named people and 300+ civilians by the Pakistani force and the convicted petitioner Abdul Quader Molla. There are 2 prosecution witnesses PW-6 Shafiuddin Mulla and PW-9 Amin Hossain. And there was a defence witness DW-5 Altaf Hossain Mulla who is the brother of PW-6. Now I shall read out the charge from page 284 of volume-1.”

Mr Razzaq started to read out the charge at 9:46 am. After he had finished with reading out the charge he started to read out PW-6 Shafuddin Mulla’s deposition from part II, page 583 and then he read out PW-9’s deposition from page 598 of the same part. After that he started to read out the DW-5 Altaf Hussain Mulla at 10:54 am.

After an adjournment, the court returned.

The bench officer called item-3 and thus Mr Razzaq came to dais again and said, “I shall now continue from DW-5 deposition.”

He then said, “Now I shall read out the findings by the tribunal in respect of the prosecution and defence witnesses.” .

After that Razzaq then informed the court, “Now I shall make my submission about the charge no. 5.” He then submitted, “There are 2 discripencies.” CJ asked him, “Did you asked about those to I.O.?” Razzaq then, “Yes, I asked him and the I.O. said he (PW) did not say anything about that.

Please see page 587 where we asked the PW, ‘Did you say the following things to I.O.- (a) that you were involved with the politics of Bangladesh Student League?, (b) that you worked for Advocate Jahiruddin in his election campaign?, (d) that you knew Abdul Qader Molla in 1970? (that’s the most important one), (e) that you saw Abdul Quader Molla was talking to Pakistani force?, and (f) that you have seen rifle in hand of Abdul Quader Molla?’ and the I.O. deposed that the PW did not deposed any of these facts to him. You lordship will find that at 2ndparagraph of page 625 in the deposition of PW-12 (I.O.).”

Razzaq then readout the same from I.O.’s deposition. He then added, “both of the PWs deposed that they saw a rifle in Molla’s hand though.”

Shamsuddin Chowdhury J. showed from the deposition of those PWs, “afterwards, he (PW) deposed that he saw Abdul Quader Molla standing with a rifle aiming to unarmed civillians.” In response to that, Razzaq commented, “this particular witness could tell to the court that said Abdul Quader Molla is a Bangalee or non-Bangalee- that’s very surprising my lord.”

Razzaq then started to read from the statement, “it was dark at the time of occarance and they (Pakistani force) came by helicopter.” He particularly argued, “Well, we agree that it is possible to see that they came by helicopter even it is dark but how he (PW) identified a single person (Abdul Quader Molla) particularly when it was dark? The PW deposed at the last paragraph of page 588 that the sky was cloudy.” In response to that Wahab Miah J. replied, “it was easily possible to identify because the Pakistanis were tall and white and the convicted petitioner was short and dark complexion.”

Razzaq further quote a part of the PW’s cross examination which was, “It is not true that I have not seen anything. I hid in a hole in the paddy field until 11 am.”

He then submitted, “Now the issue is whether it is possible to see all those hiding like that?” Wahab Miah J. added, “Yes, see at page 585, 13th line from the top, ‘…the depth of the hole from the ground level was 4 feet’ which is almost same as his height.” Razzaq then submitted, “How it was possible to see? My submission is it is totally impossible. And then the CJ added, “But he denied. In his words, ‘it is not true that I have not seen anything hiding in the paddy field.” In response Razzaq argued, “Well, the witness may say; that’s upto him. Just because he said so there is no certainty that it is true for sure.

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