A prosecution witness on Sunday said he had seen detained Motiur Rahman Nizami several times in their village Brishalikha, Pabna till December 3, 1971, the day his freedom fighter uncle was killed by the occupation army at the behest of the incumbent Jamaat-e-Islami ameer.
“During that period, we did not talk with Nizami as we were afraid of him,” recalled PW-22 M Shahjahan Ali, now 69, while facing cross-examination by the defence counsel in the International Crimes Tribunal-1.
PW Shahjahan, who witnessed the horrible killing of his uncle Sohrab Ali Pramanik from nearby hideout in a bamboo grove, told the tribunal that while in Brishalikha he did not see Nizami engaged in talking to the villagers, nor taking tea sitting at any house.
“I also have no idea about the place where Nizami used to stay while in Brishalikha,” he said.
Replying to a defence question, the PW said that the Pakistan occupation army did not launch any other operation in their village except on December 3 during the 1971 Liberation War.
He said that after the independence of Bangladesh, the members of his family did not file any case with the police station about the killing of his uncle. “Also anyone didn’t prevent us from lodging the FIR in this regard.”
Replying to a defence suggestion, Shahjahan said: “It’s not true that immediately after the independence of Bangladesh, freedom fighters had captured many Razakars and Al Badrs on charges of killing my uncle.”
On another defence suggestion, the PW said: “It’s also not true that as an old guard of Awami League, I gave false evidence against Nizami, ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami, which is a rival of Awami League.
A former minister during the past BNP-Jamaat rule, Motiur Rahman Nizami is being tried on charges of involvement in murders and torture of unarmed people along with hatching conspiracy, planning, incitement and complicity to commit genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army.
Also the president of Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS), the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1971, Nizami faces 16 counts of charges based on 16 separate incidents of crimes against humanity, in which at least 600 unarmed people were killed and 31 women raped during the Liberation War.
On December 11, 2011, the prosecution submitted the formal charge against Nizami before the tribunal.
On January 9, 2012, the tribunal took cognisance of the formal charge against Nizami for facing the trial of crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War.
On May 28, 2012, the tribunal indicted the Jamaat ameer for committing the 1971 crimes against humanity.
Nizami, detained in connection with other criminal case, was shown arrested on August 2, 2010, in connection with the war crimes case.
Meanwhile, designated prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon informed the three-member tribunal, headed by ATM Fazle Kabir, that the prosecution today (Sunday) submitted the formal charge against detained war crimes suspect Maulana Abdus Sobhan, the number three man in the Jamaat-e-Islami hierarchy, with the Registrar of the tribunal for initiating the case.
The investigation agency under the ICTs has found evidence against nine allegations of 1971 war crimes, including conspiracy, genocide, arson, abduction and loot, committed by detained Maulana Sobhan in Pabna.
The tribunal will pass order on it tomorrow (Monday).