Vol. 5 Num 149 Thu. October 21, 2004  
Front Page

Slain leaders' families bin verdict

The families of the four national leaders assassinated in Dhaka Central Jail on November 3, 1975 rejected the verdict yesterday and called it a farce of a justice.

The verdict was politically motivated and the government's interference in the case denied them justice, they said.

"We along with the public are totally disappointed at the verdict as all the main perpetrators have got off scot-free because of the unprecedented influencing by the government," said Mohammad Nasim, son of M Mansur Ali. He was talking to reporters at his Dhanmondi residence.

"We were hopeful when the previous Awami League (AL) government initiated the belated trial. But now justice has receded into a distant dream following the incumbent government's meddling."

He said the BNP-Jamaat-led coalition replaced four public prosecutors appointed by the AL government with those loyal to them in a bid to set them free. "They even replaced the judge," Nasim said, adding, the verdict has proved that this government is beneficiary of the jail killings.

"Our senior leaders Abdus Samad Azad, Syed Ashraful Islam (son of Syed Nazrul Islam), Tazuddin Ahmed's daughter (Simin Hossain Rimi) and I appeared as prosecution witnesses, but most of the perpetrators have been acquitted.

"They should have been punished since they were self-declared killers of Bangabandhu and four national leaders," he said.

Syed Ashraful said, "Ever since the four-party government came to power, I was in deep doubt about justice. This verdict has been given on political considerations."

He held KM Obaidur Rahman, Shah Moazzmen Hossain, Taher Uddin Thakur as the kingpins of the historic jail killings and expressed dismay over their acquittal. "Now Obaidur Rahman's hope of being a minister has much advanced."

Sohel Taj, son of Tajuddin Ahmed, said, "I was only five when my father was killed and had been waiting for 29 years for justice. But the judgement has plunged us all into despair."

Bursting into tears, the young lawmaker of the main opposition party said, "This BNP government made Col Faruk Rahman leader of the opposition through the voter-less elections of February 15, 1996 and posted other killers in foreign services. They did so, as they are perpetrators and beneficiaries of the killings."

Expressing dissatisfaction over the verdict, Khairuzzaman Liton, son of AHM Quamruzzaman, said they will take the case to the High Court as justice was not reflected in yesterday's verdict.

The families of the four national leaders have meanwhile said they are going to hold a joint press conference shortly to express their dissatisfaction with the verdict.

Awami League MP Sohel Taj, left, son of slain prime minister Tajuddin Ahmed, bursts into tears at a press briefing held at the residence of AL leader Mohammad Nasim (C) yesterday soon after the verdict in the Jail Killing Case. PHOTO: STAR