• Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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Aug 21 grenade attack: State for holding hearing on appeals on priority basis

  • Published at 01:13 pm August 19th, 2020
August 21 Grenade attack
File photo: An unexploded grenade on Bangabandhu Avenue after the attack on August 21, 2004 Courtesy

'There was no such incident in the history of mankind, where someone carried out such a monstrous attack to eliminate a political party'

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam has said that they would plead to hold hearing on jail appeals and death reference in two cases lodged over the August 21 grenade attack, on a priority basis.

“We would plead to hold the hearing on a priority basis so that the matter is sent to a particular bench for hearing. Our efforts will be to uphold the lower court judgments in the two cases, at the High Court as well,” he said.

Terming the 2004 incident as barbaric, the chief state counsel said an evil quarter of the country tried their best to obstruct the holding of trial and arrest of the culprits.

“There was no such incident in the history of mankind, where someone carried out such a monstrous attack to eliminate a political party,” Attorney General Mahbubey Alam added.

Echoing the point raised by the attorney general, senior lawyer Syed Rezaur Rahman, who was also the chief prosecutor in the cases at the lower court, said it was one of the worst attacks on any political party in history.

“Based on the evidence and other documents, we have seen the attack was carried out with the direct backing from then BNP-Jamaat alliance government and with the assistance from the militant organization. 

“It was the result of a local and international conspiracy,” Advocate Rahman said.

He further said that the main aim of the anti-liberation forces was to kill Sheikh Hasina and eliminate the leadership of Awami League and they carried out the attack with military-grade grenades, which is used in wars only.

While talking about the status of the cases at the High Court, Supreme Court spokesperson Md Saifur Rahman said the paper book has been readied recently, paving the way for holding hearing on jail appeals and death reference in the two cases.

A Dhaka court on October 10, 2018, sentenced 19 people to death including former state minister for home affairs Lutfozzaman Babar and life imprisonment to another 19 including BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman on the August 21, 2004 grenade attack charge.

The lower court on November 27, 2018, sent a 37,385-page case document including the judgment to the High Court for further proceedings. 

The High Court on January 13, 2019, accepted appeals filed by the convicts in two cases filed over the August 21 grenade attack for hearing.

Judge Shahed Nuruddin of Dhaka’s Speedy Trial Tribunal pronounced the judgment in the murder filed over the incident, ordering Tarique to be exposed to prison for life term along with 18 others and sentenced 19 people including Lutfozzaman Babar and ex-deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu and several former army intelligence officers to the death penalty.

The court found all the 49 guilty and sentenced to different jail terms for the attack that killed 24 people and wounded some 500 others, crippling some of them for life.

The judge also made 12-point observations on the background, motive, and consequences of the attack, mainly targeting the incumbent Prime Minister and the then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina, who narrowly escaped the assault sustaining wounds.

The death penalty convicts are: Lutfozzaman Babar, Salam Pintu, Mawlana Tajuddin, intelligence officials Major General (rtd) Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury and Brigadier General Abdur Rahim, transport operator Md Hanif, militants Mowlana Sheikh Abdus Salam, Abdul Mazed Bhat, Abdul Malek, Shawkat Osman, Mohibullah, Abu Sayeed, Abul Kalam Azad, Jahangir Alam, Hafez Abu Taher, Hossain Ahammed Tamim, Moin Uddin Sheikh, Rafikul Islam, and Md Uzzal.

Other than Rahman, the political figures who were handed down life imprisonments are — ex-premier Khaleda Zia’s then political adviser Haris Chowdhury and former BNP lawmaker Qazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad.

The others to serve the life term prison are — militants Shahadat Ullah alias Jewel, Abdur Rouf, Sabbir Ahmed, Arif Hasan, Hafez Yahia, Abu Bokor, Ariful Islam, Mohibul Muttakin, Anisul Mursalin, Mohammad Khalil, Jahangir Alam Badar, Mohammad Iqbal, Liton, Shafikur Rahman, Abdul Hai and Ratul Ahmed Babu.

They all were fined Tk50,000 each in the case lodged under the Explosive Substances Act.

The court also sentenced Lutfozzaman Babar, Abdus Salam Pintu, Mowlana Tajuddin, Major General (retd) Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury, Brigadier General Abdur Rahim, Md Hanif, Mowlana Sheikh Abdus Salam, Abdul Mazed Bhat, Abdul Malek, Mowlana Shawkat Osman, Mohibullah, Mowalana Abu Sayeed, Abul Kalam Azad, Md Jahangir Alam, Hafez Mowlana Abu Taher, Hossain Ahammed Tamim, Moin Uddin Sheikh, Md Rafikul Islam and Md Uzzal to 20-year imprisonment and fined Tk50,000 each in the case lodged under the Explosive Substances Act.

In the same case, the court sentenced Tarique Rahman, Haris Chowdhury, Qazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Kaikobad, Mufti Shafikur Rahman, Mufti Abdul Hai, Shahadat Ullah, Mowlana Abdur Rouf, Mowlana Sabbir Ahmed, Arif Hasan, Hafez Mowlana Yahia, Abu Bokor, Ariful Islam Arif, Mohibul Muttakin, Anisul Mursalin, Md Khalil, Jahangir Alam Badar, Md Iqbal, Mowlana Liton, and Ratul Ahmed Babu to 20-year imprisonment and fined Tk50,000 each.

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