1975 Dhaka killings: Government may appeal against accused

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

DHAKA - The Bangladesh Supreme Court Tuesday allowed the government to appeal against the acquittal of those accused of gunning down four top leaders of the freedom movement in Dhaka Central Jail in 1975.

A three-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Justice A.B.M. Khairul Haque passed the order after granting the leave-to-appeal petition filed by the government against a high court verdict.

The high court had in a 2008 verdict acquitted six former army personnel charged with killing Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, A.H.M. Qamaruzzaman, and Captain Mansur Ali Nov 3, 1975.

Nazrul Islam was the acting president and Tajuddin, the prime minister in the provisional government of independent Bangladesh that was formed in April 1971.

Mansur Ali was the country’s prime minister when founding leader and president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was killed August 15, 1975, along with most of his family members in a military-led putsch.

The four leaders were jailed ten days later, where they were gunned down during yet another putsch that took place Nov 3, 1975.

On Oct 20, 2004, a Dhaka court sentenced three persons to death, awarded life imprisonment to 12 others and acquitted five in the case. Of the six army personnel acquitted by the high court, two had been facing death penalty and four others life imprisonment following the court verdict.

The government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sought a review of the high court verdict to bring to book the six acquitted army men: Lt. Col. (dismissed) Syed Farooq-ur Rahman, Lt. Col. (retd) Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Maj. (retd) A.K.M. Mohiuddin Ahmed, Major (retd) Bazlul Huda, Dafadar (dismissed) Marfat Ali Shah, and Dafadar (dismissed) Abdul Hashem Mridha.

Farooq, Shahriar, Mohiuddin, and Bazlul were executed Jan 27 last year following their conviction and death sentence by the apex court in the Sheikh Mujibur Rahman murder case while Marfat Ali and Abdul Hashem are on the run, the Daily Star reported.

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