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Bangabandhu Killers

Five walked the gallows, one more to pay the price

Published : Wednesday, 8 April, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 127
Nazmul Ahsan Raju

The heinous killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has taken over 34 years to ensure justice since August 15 in 1975.
A self-confessed convicted killers of the country's father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman murder case Captain (dismissed) Abdul Majed was arrested on Tuesday.
A dark cloud that has been looming over the nation since that day was partially removed on January 27 in 2010 with the execution of five of the 12 condemned killers.
Completion of the trial of Bangbandhu killing case and implementation of the verdict will remain in the history of the judiciary as an example of how many hurdles justice might have to cross before being served.
The looming darkness deepened further in the form of the Indemnity Ordinance, which was introduced by Khandaker Moshtaque Ahmed and then given constitutional legitimacy by Lt Gen Ziaur Rahman, to protect the killers of Bangabandhu and obstruct justice.
No government took any initiative to ensure justice for the killing of the country's first president until Sheikh Mujib's own party Awami League came to power in 1996 under the leadership of his daughter Sheikh Hasina.
It had taken over 34 years to ensure justice since August 15 in 1975 heinous killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Abdul Majed -- the convicted killer of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members -- who was arrested today, can now file a petition with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court through jail authorities seeking exemption from the Bangabandhu murder case.
Overcoming many hurdles the trial proceedings was completed 10 years ago, execution of five of the convicted killers Syed Faruk Rahman, Mohiuddin Ahmed, Bazlul Huda, AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed and Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan was held on January 27 in 2010, as per the verdict handed down by the apex court.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court dismissed pleas to review the verdict that confirmed capital punishment to 12 former army officers including the five review petitioners on January 27 in 2010.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was brutally murdered, along with his wife and three sons, including 10-year-old Sheikh Russell, on August 15 in 1975, while his two daughters, incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana, survived the carnage as they were abroad.
The government of Khandakar Mustaque Ahmed, which was installed after the bloody military coup, passed an ordinance in November 1975, indemnifying the perpetrators and closing the door on the possibility of a trial.
The Awami League (AL) government revoked the indemnity ordinance in 1996 and cleared the way for the trial. Sheikh Mujib's personal assistant Muhitul Islam filed a case on October 2 in 1996 with the Dhanmondi Police Station against 24 persons.
On November 8 in 1998, Dhaka Sessions Judge, Golam Rasul, awarded death sentences to 15 of the 20 accused.
Four of the convicts-Maj (retd) Bazlul Huda, Lt Col (dismissed) Syed Faruk Rahman, Lt Col (retd) Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan and Lt Col (retd) Mohiuddin Ahmed-appealed before the High Court against the verdict.
On December 14 in 2000, the High Court gave a split verdict in the case - Justice Md Ruhul Amin upheld death sentences of 10 of the convicts, but Justice ABM Khairul Haque retained death sentences of all the 15.
On April 30 in 2001 Justice Mohammad Fazlul Karim of a third High Court bench upheld death sentences of 12 and acquitted three.
Of the 12 death convicts, four appealed against their sentences in the Appellate Division the same year.
Judges' embarrassment in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court further delayed completion of the trial of the historic case.
The case was not heard for a single day during the BNP's five-year tenure (2001-2006) because of "lack of judges" in the Appellate Division.
A three-member bench was finally formed in the Supreme Court to hear the leave-to-appeal petitions after the Fakhruddin Ahmed-led caretaker government took office.
The bench allowed the condemned convicts to file regular appeals against the High Court verdict.
In the meantime, another death convict, retired Lt Col (lancer), AKM Mohiuddin, made an appeal from jail after he was deported from the United States on June 18 in 2008.
But hearing of their regular appeals was ensured only after the present Awami League-led alliance government appointed a few judges to the Supreme Court and set up a five-member special bench to hear the appeals.
The hearing started on October 5 in 2009. After 29 days of hearing, the apex court, on November 19 in 2009, delivered the much-awaited final verdict that rejected the appeals of the killers and upheld the High Court verdict of death sentences for the 12.
On January 27 in 2010 the Appellate Division rejected the review petitions filed by five killers as they contained no new arguments and any legal grounds for reviewing the Supreme Court judgment confirming the death sentences.
After completion of all legal procedures, the AL-led government executed five self-confessed killers - all former army officers - on January 27 in 2010 after 35 years of the killing.

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