Vol. 5 Num 1134 Tue. August 07, 2007  
Front Page

Bangabandhu murder case hearing resumes today after 6 years

The Appellate Division will hear the Bangabandhu murder case today after six years against the High Court verdict sentencing 12 former army personnel to death.

Four petitions seeking permission to file appeals have been pending due to a shortage of judges in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) since August 2001.

Another condemned in the case, also filed an appeal through the jail authorities on June 24, 2007 following his extradition from the US.

In almost six years, a three-member bench could not be formed as five of the seven Appellate Division judges either had reservations regarding the case or had heard the case before as HC judges.

After Syed JR Mudassir Husain retired as the chief justice on February 28, Justice Hassan Ameen was appointed to the Appellate Division on March 20 to fill the vacancy, making way for meeting the SC requirement of three judges to form the bench.

Out of the seven-member Appellate Division, three judges -- Tafazzul Islam, Joynul Abedin, and Hassan Ameen -- can hear the Bangabandhu murder case, as none of them has any reservation regarding the case nor did any of them hear the case before in the HC.

Supreme Court Registrar Iktedar Ahmed informed the media that a special bench has been formed with the three judges of the Appellate Division to hear the case.

ďAll formalities for the hearing have been completed. The state also has appointed defence lawyers to stand on behalf of those still at large."

The appeal hearing originally had been scheduled for August 16, 2001, which was postponed eight times before it was finally dropped from the Appellate Division on March 19, 2002.

Twelve of the condemned had their death sentences upheld by the High Court's final verdict on April 30, 2001.

Four of them, who are in prison, filed appeals with the Appellate Division immediately after the High Court verdict.

They are former army officers Bazlul Huda, Syed Faruque Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, and Mohiuddin Ahmed.

Another former army officer, AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed, filed an appeal through the jail authorities on June 24, 2007 following his extradition from the US.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated along with most of his family members on August 15, 1975. A case was filed on October 2, 1996 -- 21 years after the killing.

A trial court on November 8, 1998 handed down death sentences to 15 retired and dismissed army personnel for the multiple murders. The HC upheld the punishment of the 12, only five of whom are currently behind bars, one died, and the rest are still at large.