Vol. 4 Num 213 Wed. December 31, 2003  
Front Page

Harkatul Jihad man gets life in arms case

A Dhaka court in an arms case yesterday jailed for life Mufti Abdul Hannan Munshi of Harkatul Jihad, also believed to have links to planting explosives near the venue for a Gopalganj rally of former prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

Judge Mohammad Jahangir Alam Mollah of the Speedy Trial Tribunal-4 handed down the verdict in a crowded courtroom in absence of the Islamist outfit leader, popularly known as Abul Kalam, and acquitted five others -- Mehedi Hassan, Hasmat Ali Kazi, Mofizur Rahman, Shah Newaz and Mahmud Azahar.

In sentencing, the judge said police seized a huge haul of bomb-making materials and a foreign-made revolver from Hannan's rented house in Hemangan residential neighbourhood in Gopalganj on July 24, 2000.

Aminur Rahman, the then officer-in-charge of Gopalganj Police Station, filed an arms case against Hannan and Hasmat, the homeowner.

The Criminal Investigation Department pressed charges against Hannan and five others on November 2, 2001 and the court framed charges against them on July 1, 2001.

The case was transferred to the tribunal on November 13 this year and 21 prosecution witnesses were cross-examined during the trial completed in 34 workdays.

Special Public Prosecutor Harun-or-Rashid Khan and advocates Sahara Khatun, Abdullah Abu, Abdur Rahman Howlader and Rasheda Parvin appeared for the state.

Police linked Hannan to the seizure of a powerful timing device in a metallic container weighing 76kg, secreted underground only 50 feet from the rostrum for a rally of Kotalipara residents Hasina was scheduled to address on July 21, 2000.

Police filed another case against Hannan with Kotalipara Police Station under the Explosives Substances Act, as they believed the device was part of a bid to assassinate Hasina.