Committed to PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO KNOW
Vol. 5 Num 1028 Mon. April 23, 2007  
   
Front Page


British Airways refuses to fly Hasina to Dhaka
Dhaka court issues arrest warrant against her in Paltan killing case


The British Airways (BA) last night refused to fly former prime minister Sheikh Hasina from London to Bangladesh as a Dhaka court ordered her arrest in October 28 Paltan killing case.

A tearful Hasina left the airport at Bangladesh time 8:10pm after intense negotiations with the BA authorities, who told the Awami League (AL) chief that the government would not let the flight land in Dhaka if they carried her, Syed Nahas Pasha, editor of the largest circulated UK-based Bengali newsweekly Janamat, told The Daily Star over the phone.

Hasina, who had two British MPs with her during the negotiations, was also asked by BA authorities to consider the 'safety and security' of the passengers on the flight, who would be facing an uncertain fate with Hasina on board.

As an emotional Hasina was leaving the airport, she told reporters, "I am the daughter of the father of the nation. I will return to the country, for sure."

"Today an arrest warrant has been issued against me. Before that they imposed a ban on my return. I am ready to accept any consequences in the country. I want to be back with my people on my own soil. Whatever be my fate, I will return to Bangladesh," she said.

Asked whether she would stay in London or return to her son and daughter in the United States, Hasina said she will remain in London for now but decide her future soon.

The AL chief entered London's Heathrow airport at 7:15pm and was accompanied by British Labour Party MP Emily Thornberry, who later said that there must be some miscommunication that resulted in Hasina being barred from returning home.

Thornberry, who also engaged in negotiations with the BA authorities, told reporters that she would raise the issue with British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett and also in British parliament.

Hasina was accompanied by her younger sister Sheikh Rehana, other family members, and a number of UK-unit AL leaders and activists.

Arrest Warrant Against Hasina
A Dhaka court yesterday issued arrest warrants against Awami League (AL) chief and former prime minister Sheikh Hasina and two others after accepting the charge sheet in connection with the Paltan killings on October 28 last year.

The same court accepted the charge sheet submitted against Jamaat-e-Islami chief Matiur Rahman Nizami and nine others for killing a Workers Party activist.

Two others who were issued arrest warrants yesterday are former home minister Mohammad Nasim and another AL activist Kiron alias Abdul Malek. They have been shown absconding in the charge sheet, even though Nasim is now in jail custody.

The investigation officer (IO) prayed to the court for issuance of arrest warrants against the accused 'fugitives' and confiscating their properties.

After scrutinising the case docket and other relevant documents of the case, Metropolitan Magistrate Mir Ali Reza passed the order on the IO's plea for issuance of arrest warrants against them.

But the court did not pass any order on the IO's plea for confiscating their movable properties.

The court directed the authorities concerned to send the copies of arrest warrant to the respective addresses of fugitives Hasina, Naism and Kiron.

Following the order, general recording office (GRO) sent a copy of arrest warrant issued against Hasina to the officer-in-charge (OC) of Dhanmondi Police Station yesterday.

Earlier on April 11, police pressed charges against Hasina, AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil, Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) President Hasanul Haque Inu and 42 others for killing five Jamaat-e-Islami activists and injuring several others.

The IO dropped names of Abdur Razzak, Tofail Ahmed and 14 others from the charge sheet, as the charges brought against them were not proved.

Of them, Roymohon Shil, Omar Faruq and Sumon are now in jail custody.

Forty others including Mofazzel Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Dr HBM Iqbal and Jahangir Kabir Nanak were earlier granted bail from the High Court.

Two sub-inspectors of detective branch (DB) had submitted the charge sheets in both cases to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court in Dhaka showing 91 people as prosecution witnesses.

Prior to the takeover of power by the caretaker government on October 28, seven people were killed in a fierce clash between activists of AL-led 14-party coalition and Jamaat-e-Islami in Paltan area. A day later Workers Party and Jamaat filed separate cases in connection with the same incident with Paltan Police Station.

In the case filed by Jamaat, complainant ATM Sirajul Islam, amir of the Paltan unit of the Islamist party, mentioned that on directives from AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil, Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon and JSD President Hasanul Haque Inu, the other accused killed five Jamaat activists and injured several others.

In the first information report the complainant had not named Hasina as an accused but the charge sheet had the AL chief as an accused.

The IO put Hasina's name at number 31 on the list of 46 accused as he claimed that the AL chief had been found to be involved in the incident.

Case Against Jamaat
The same court yesterday accepted the charge sheet submitted against Matiur Rahman Nizami and nine others in connection with the killing of a Workers Party activist on October 28 last year.

The court also sent it to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's (CMM) Court for taking next steps, as the case was ready for trial.

The IO of the case, AKM Idris Hossain, sub-inspector of the Detective Branch of police, pressed charges against 10 leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir for the killing of a Workers Party activist Rasel Ahmed Khan.

Nine others are former minister and Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, Senior Secretary General of Jamaat Quamaruzzaman, Central Nayeb-e-Amir Mokbul Ahmed, Assistant Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam, Dhaka City Unit Amir of Jamaat Rafikul Islam, Paltan Unit Amir ATM Sirajul Islam, Islami Chhatra Shibir President Shafikul Islam Masud and its General Secretary Zahid Hossain, and President of Dhaka University Unit of Chhatra Shibir Shishir Monir.

On October 28 last year, activists of Jamaat and its student front Chhatra Shibir gathered in front of the north gate of Baitul Mukarram mosque and launched an attack on the AL-led 14-party coalition activists when they were passing through the area, the prosecution said.

The attack sparked a fierce battle between the rival political activists. During the battle, Shibir activists were found shooting with firearms.

Their rivals also reportedly launched a counter attack with oars and sticks.

Picture
Sheikh Hasina talks to newsmen at Heathrow Airport in London yesterday.Courtesy: Syed Nahas Pasha