ICT-1 witnesses row over SQ Chy’s deposition

Raising serious objection over the deposition by defence witness Salauddin Quader Chowdhury claiming mostly irrelevant to the war crimes case the accused faces, the prosecution on Wednesday tacitly threatened the International Crimes Tribunal-1 to take a different line of action. The instant stance as expressed by the prosecution interrupted the trial proceedings followed by a counter-protest by defence lawyers terming it a direct threat to the tribunal.
Hearing heated debates from both sides that lasted for nearly half-an-hour over the deposition of the DW -1, the tribunal asked designated prosecutor Zead Al Malum to file the “different application as you mentioned after second half. We’ll see your application.”
Earlier, designated prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon interrupting the deposition of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, who was depicting his mindset between the perception and the reality, told the tribunal that DW’s statement has no bearing on the case as no prosecution witness against the accused indicated such.
“We’re unable to understand what relation communicates the perception and belief with the charges the accused faces and how much his statement will add value to the case?” argued Simon.
He further contended that the prosecution has come before the tribunal to seek justice against the ‘perpetrators’ who committed the crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War. “We can’t spoil time and the tribunal can’t run with recording such irrelevant statement,” said the prosecutor.
Encountering the prosecutor, DW Salauddin Quader Chowdhury told the tribunal that most prosecution witnesses against him were hearsay witnesses terming them in vernacular dialect ‘Sonaullah’, who do not speak about his politics.
“I want to establish my belief before the tribunal since politics is not a boxing competition,” he said.
Opposing the DW, designated counsel Zead Al Malum said the trial of politician and parliamentarian Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was not taking place here. Fazlul Quader Chowdhury’s son Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, whose alleged criminal acts perpetrated during the 1971 Liberation War, now being tried.
“We’ve not come before the tribunal to hear the interpretative statement of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury on his belief and perception,” said Malum.
“Our all efforts have gone in vain in convincing the tribunal to go by the ICT Act and its rules of procedure provided for the DW, terming the ongoing trial ex parte,” lamented Malum.
Dr Tureen Afroz, another prosecutor, also drew attention to the tribunal to apply time management over the testimony of the DW-1.
At the second half, the prosecution was not seen filing any ‘different application’ as mentioned at the first half before the tribunal.
Earlier, during his deposition for the third day, Salauddin Quader told the tribunal that he was a Bangladeshi by choice not by birth.
He said, ”On December 16, 1971, I was a resident in London and returned to Bangladesh in April 1974 and entered through immigration in Dhaka International Airport at Tejgaon, traveling on a British travel document.”
“The British travel document I surrendered to the immigration department and obtained Bangladeshi passport on the recommendations of then MP Abdul Quddus Makhon which was a mandatory condition for the issuance of Bangladeshi passport at that time,” he said, adding that the recommendation was made on the instruction of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The DW said, ”My public pronouncements and stances protecting and promoting my national interest and the interest of the Muslim Ummah within and outside Bangladesh does not represent any sense of antagonism against any particular country, community or even misguided uninformed errant individuals.” This statement was recorded with a serious objection by the prosecution.The DW’s deposition remains inconclusive. (Source: UNB)

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