Witness scandal exposed in Bangladesh War Crimes Trial:
Quazi Shahreen Haq, bdnews24.com
British lawyer Toby Cadman, who demanded an investigation after seeing a video of a so-called prosecution witness (PW) in the war crimes case of Jamaat-e-Islami leader Motiur Rahman Nizami, says he is not sure of the identity of the man in the video.
Speaking to bdnews24.com on Sunday night, he said: “I am not in a position to confirm (or) deny anything at this stage. I will review the various videos and issue a full statement in due course. I stand by my previous statement that this requires a full investigation by an independent authority.”
In a recently released video footage which went viral on the YouTube and Facebook, a man named ‘Nannu’ claimed he was a prosecution witness and testified in the Jamaat leader Nizami case under government coercion.
In a report on Sept 20, London-based ‘The Daily Telegraph’ said Cadman had seen the video as he demanded a fully independent and international investigation if the claim made in the video was true.
The Telegraph report also said Cadman was working as a lobbyist on the case of war crimes convict and Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla.
Prosecution witness in the Nizami case, Shamsul Huq Nannu, at a press conference at the prosecutor’s office of the International Crimes Tribunal on Saturday night protested the Telegraph report and said information was ‘distorted’.
He also said his family was living in insecurity.
Nannu said, “I have come to know that my statement was quoted by the defence’s international lobbyist Toby Cadman in a report published in The Daily Telegraph. Not only that, a video which supposedly was my interview was also released. I was told later that the video was also on YouTube.”
Nannu said the man in the video was only an imposter and definitely not him.
Then, the ‘real’ Nannu at the press briefing went on to set apart his appearance with that of the man in the video who claimed himself to be Nannu.
“The man who has been shown on YouTube has no moustache but I have been sporting one for quite some time. I have had long curly hair since childhood, but that man does not have such hair.”
“Even the voice is not mine. It is a distorted version of my voice,” he said.
Nannu claimed the remarks made in the video were not his. “I have never been forced to testify. I am a freedom fighter. I willingly gave the testimony to the court against Nizami being driven by my conscience.”
He said that after the testimony, he and his family were insecure. “We are receiving death threats. Miscreants of Jamaat and Shibir may kill us anytime.”
Meanwhile, prosecutor Mohammad Ali told bdnews24.com Shamsul Huq Nannu came to their office at around 7:30pm Saturday and told them about the matter. As he sought help from them, they organised the press conference for him at a room in the office.
However, when contacted about the issue, British lawyer Cadman emailed his response to bdnews24.com.
He said, “In the Daily Telegraph interview I stated that I found the contents of the original video deeply disturbing. I made the point that if the allegations set out in the video are true it warrants a full inquiry into whether there is a practice of witness tampering.
“I made no assessment as to the authenticity of the video, only that it required a full investigation by an independent authority acceptable to all parties.”
bdnews24.com provided Cadman with a video clip of Nannu’s press conference and asked whether he was the same man seen in the video Cadman had watched.
He responded: “In my view the fact that the witness has denied making the statement is to be expected. He clearly does not want to go up against the Government, as what is stated in the interview is a very serious allegation. I stand by the statement that I made in the Daily Telegraph and repeat the request that there needs to be a full, independent, international inquiry into these matters.”
However, Cadman ended his email interview saying, “I have absolutely no reason at this stage to doubt that the original video recording of the witness is authentic; however, this should be the subject of an independent investigation.