After hearing both sides, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 on Tuesday rejected the defence review plea on its earlier order limiting the number of defence witnesses (DWs) for detained war crimes accused Jamaat-e-Islami ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami to 4 out of 25 as proposed.
“The review plea is rejected as we find no new ground for consideration,” said the three-member tribunal, headed by Justice ATM Fazle Kabir.
Meanwhile, the tribunal allowed the defence counsel plea to recall ASP Abdur Razzaq Khan, the investigation officer of the Nizami case, for further cross-examination while the prosecution to reexamine him further, a day after the cross-examination of the IO was closed exhausting seven days.
During further deposition today (Tuesday), the IO appearing in the witness box told the tribunal that in July 2013 he had seized the book titled ‘Ekatturer Dosh Maash’ written by Rabindra Nath Tribedi dubbing Nizami as head of ICS and Al Badr, a vigilante group of Jamaat-e-Islami.
During defence cross-examination over his statement, the IO said the book was first published in 2007. “As I did not get the first edition of the book, I can’t say whether the name of Nizami was there as head of Al Badr.”
IO Razzaq further said: “The book was written in the form of an everyday diary and the statement I made from the book was drawn from the report on August 3, 1971 happenings published in the daily Sangram.”
Asked about the August 3, 1971 happenings where the name of Nizami as head of Al Badr was not mentioned in the daily Sangram, he said: “I had scrutinized but now I can’t remember.”
Denying a defence suggestion, Razzaq, the last PW, said: “It’s not true that the information and records referred to in the book are full of errors.”
“It’s also not true that although collected I didn’t submit to the tribunal the official list of Razakars and Al Badrs who operated in Pabna, including Sathia thana, during the 1971 Liberation War as the name of Nizami was not mentioned in that list,” said the IO.
A former minister during the past BNP-Jamaat rule, 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 May 28, 2012, the tribunal indicted the Jamaat ameer for committing the 1971 crimes against humanity.
On June 29, 2010, Nizami was arrested in front of the National Press Club after a magistrate court in Dhaka issued warrant of arrest in connection with a criminal case over hurting religious sentiment of Muslims. Later he was shown arrested in connection with the war crimes case.