“The criminal exercise had taken place in July 1971 at ‘Goods Hill’, the ancestral home of war crimes accused BNP MP Salauddin Quader Chowdhury in the port city of Chittagong,” recalled Kamal Uddin alias Kalam Uddin while testifying against the BNP stalwart as PW-35 before the International Crimes Tribunal-1.
According to depositions made by prosecution witnesses earlier, Mahbubul Alam was the Rangunia College VP and a leader of CPB’s student wing in 1971.
PW Kamal, who hailed from Hathazari, said that on the night of July 27, 1971, he came to know from a neighbour that the occupation army picked up Mahbubul Alam’s two siblings from their house.
“Hearing the news, I rushed to the house and inquired about the incident the following day,” he said.
Kamal told the tribunal that he had also visited the house when he was informed that captured siblings Noor Alam and Noor Mohammad returned from the ‘Goods Hill’ with severe injuries.
“After queries, I came to know that the occupation army had come in search of Mahbubul Alam,” he said adding that without finding Mahbubul Alam, the army picked up his two siblings and left for ‘Goods Hill’.
The PW-35 further said the army while taking Noor Alam and Noor Mohammad with them had also raided the tea shop owned by Mahbubul Alam at Chaktai Bazar and finally captured him from the place.
“All the three brothers were brutally tortured at ‘Goods Hill’ and later, only Noor Alam and Noor Mohammad were released sans Mahbubul Alam,” said Kamal, adding that Mahbubul Alam was killed by the occupation army according to his two brothers.
After the conclusion of his deposition, the PW was cross-examined by defence lawyer Ahsanul Huq Hena.
During the cross-examination, PW Kamal said he had no idea about the distance between Chaktai Bazar and ‘Goods Hill’ in the port city.
Asked whether any case was filed with Kotwali police station after the independence of Bangladesh identifying ‘Goods Hill’ as a torture cell during the Liberation War, he said: “I don’t know.”
On a defence query, the PW admitted that he gave the evidence against Salauddin Quader Chowdhury based on hearsay.
Denying a defence suggestion, he said: “It’s not true that he gave false evidence being influenced by the political opponents of the accused.”
The defence counsel also cross-examined another seizure list prosecution witness, an assistant Librarian of Bangla Academy.