A prosecution witness yesterday narrated how he and two fellow freedom fighters were abducted and brutally tortured in front of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and his father at Goods Hill, Chittagong, during the Liberation War.
In his deposition, 19th prosecution witness Syed Wahidul Alam Junu, 59, said seeing them SQ Chowdhury's father Fazlul Quader Chowdhury used swear words. Later, Pakistani army beat them up at Goods Hill, the home of the Chowdhury's.
Alam told the International Crimes Tribunal-1 yesterday that the incident that took place from July 5 to July 13, 1971.
One of the two fellow freedom fighters Alam mentioned was Nizamuddin Ahmed, who testified last year against SQ Chowdhury, being tried for crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 war.
Following the testimony, defence counsel and SQ Chowdhury himself cross-examined the witness yesterday.
Alam, who sings Nazrulgeeti at Bangladesh Betar, Chittagong, said Sirajul Islam Nuru, Nizamuddin and he set up a training camp on an abandoned house on Hajari Lane. He said they used to receive training to fight from one Siddique Rahman.
They spied on Pakistani forces too.
“On July 5, 1971, we lost contact with our trainer Siddique. At about 7:30pm, we heard the noise of an approaching car… A few minutes later three-four army men with some locals entered our room and ordered 'hands up',” he said.
“They tied our hands and blindfolded us,” Alam said.
The witness said they were taken to Goods Hill on a red jeep. “We were taken to the drawing room of Goods Hill. We saw Fazlul Quader Chowdhury sitting. Seeing us, he [Fazlul Quader] stood up and hurled abusive words. Those who took us there began beating us up,” said Alam.
SQ Chowdhury was present at that time.
Alam lost his teeth in the torture. “Blood poured out from my mouth and I felt severe pain,” said Alam.
Moments later, his fellow fighters were taken to the torture cell and SQ Chowdhury followed them.
“I was spared since I was already hurt a lot,” he said, adding, “I heard their screaming sitting in the drawing room.”
Military intelligence of the Pakistani army quizzed the three at Goods Hill, said the witness.
They were left dangling from the ceiling for 24 hours so that they could not sleep.
On the night of July 6, they were handed over to the Pakistani army who took them to Chittagong Stadium and tortured them there too.
They were kept at the stadium from July 7 to July 13, 1971, along with 30-35 other detainees.
On July 13, an army major of Baluchistan origin interrogated him. Learning that Alam's surname was Syed, the major let him go instead of sending him to the cantonment.
The name Syed is usually associated with people of Arab descend.
His two fellows were taken to the cantonment where they were tortured. They were later sent to jail.
Nizamuddin in his October 23, 2012, deposition said he remained behind bars until November 18, 1971.
Charge-17 framed against SQ Chowdhury says that he committed offence of abduction, confinement and torture, which are crimes against humanity under section 3 (2) (a) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973.
Defence yesterday completed cross-examining of Alam. During cross-examination yesterday, SQ Chowdhury asked several questions on the topography of Chittagong.
The war crimes accused suggested that Alam was not at all abducted and taken to his father's bungalow.
The witness said it was not true.
In reply to a question, Alam said he did not see SQ Chowdhury before the Liberation War.
The proceedings of the case was adjourned until February 14.