The third prosecution witness gave his deposition against Mawlana Matiur Rahman Nizami on crimes against humanity during 1971.
On Tuesday, the third prosecution witness Rustam Ali gave his deposition at ICT-1 which was presided over by a panel of 3 members led by Judge ATM Fazle Kabir. Following that, the cross-examination of the witness was left unfinished and adjourned until the 31st of March.
At the beginning of his deposition, the witness said, “My name is Rustam Ali. My present age is 67 years. In 1971, I was a 4th grade employee (security guard) of Physical Training College”
It is notable that on November 13, Rustam Ali also gave testimony against Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mujahid.
In his statement, he said,” Matiur Rahman Nizami, Ali Ahsan Mujahid and Golam Azam used to come to the Mohammadpur Physical Training college in Army pickups since this institution was the training HQ of Razakars, Al Badr, Al Shams forces.”
He said that,” After the Physical Training College at Mohammadpur turned into the training HQ of Razakars, Al Badr and Al Shams forces, I one day came to the college gate on my way to the bazaar. There I saw Matiur Rahman Nizami, Ali Ahsan Mujahid and Golam Azam coming to the training centre in Army pickups.”
Rustam said, “I heard that they were leaders of Razakar and Al Badr. There they talked for one to one and a half hours. That was the day I first saw them. I have heard that they came to this training camp more than once later.”
He said,” Ten days before independence, the Pakistani army, Al Badr and Razakars captured and brought at least 200-250 individuals including some intellectuals, freedom fighters, artists and Bengali women. They were tortured relentlessly by being hanged from the staircase and their arms and feet were broken. Subsequently they were taken to the dining room downstairs and killed. Their dead bodies were then sent to Rayerbazaar and thrown into a mass graveyard there.”
Rustam Ali further said, “On the day after independence, 9 decapitated heads were extracted from the camp by freedom fighters who gave them to Bicchu Jalal. Also eyes of 100-150 people were found from Rahim Bepari canal and the brickfield.”
The witness said, “2 to 3 months before the beginning of the Liberation war, the Pakistani army used to bring Bengali women to the camp and rape them. Many were tortured after being held and then killed.”
At the end of the testament of the prosecution witness, he was cross-examined by Advocate Tariqul Islam, junior lawyer of Mawlana Matiur Rahman Nizami. The witness was asked just one question in the cross-examination. When asked about the date of the independence of the country, the witness replied, “I don’t know”. The testament of the witness was received by prosecutor Mir Iqbal Hossain.
16 charges of crimes against humanity were pressed in the war crimes case against Mawlana Matiur Rahman Nizami on the 28th of May. Clear charges against him include that of murder, loot, arson, rape, agitation, collaboration and planning attacks on intellectuals and their killing.
These charges were formally accepted by the tribunal on the 9th of January. It is notable that Matiur Rahman Nizami was arrested on the 29th of June 2010 on related charges of hurting religious sentiment of Muslims and was shown arrested at the tribunal on the 2nd of August.