Jail killing trial in shortest possible time

Ruling Awami League leaders on Saturday expressed hope that the verdict on the Jail Killing case would be pronounced in the shortest possible time.

They also alleged that the main opposition, BNP, would not be able to evade their responsibility in the assassination of the four national leaders.

Awami League’s Presidium member and Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said, “Ziaur Rahman and Khaleda Zia cannot avoid their responsibility over the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the four national leaders in the jail.

“The verdict on the Bangabandhu assassination case has been delivered. The trial of the revived jail killing case will end in the shortest possible time,” she said.

She was speaking at a discussion organised to mark the Jail Killing Day on Saturday at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital.

Stating that the BNP had turned the Jai Killing trial into a farce, Matia claimed the information and evidences were stored in the records. “They cannot avoid the liability anyhow.”

The four national leaders of the wartime national government—acting President Syed Nazrul Islam, Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed and cabinet ministers M Mansur Ali and AHM Qamruzzaman—were brutally killed inside the Dhaka Central Jail on Nov 3, 1975. Since then the day is being marked every year as the Jail Killing Day.

The assassins, believed to be the mastermind of the 1975 coup, stormed the jail and shot dead the four leaders, only three months after the killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members on Aug 15 same year.

The Awami League government revived trial in the jail killing case after assuming power in 1996. Charge-sheets were submitted against 23 people on Oct 15, 1998.

On Oct 20, 2004, Dhaka’s Metropolitan Sessions Court Judge Matiur Rahman had awarded death sentence to fugitives Risaldar Moslem Uddin, Dafadar Marfat Ali Shah and Abul Hashem Mridha in the case.

It also awarded lifer to Syed Faruk Rahman, Sultan Shahrier Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda and AKM Mahiuddin Ahmed — all of whom were executed for the murder of Bangabandhu — and eight others.

But the High Court in 2008 upon petitions acquitted Marfat Ali, Hashem Mridha, Faruk, Shahrier, Bazlul and Mahiuddin.

A regular bench of the Appellate Division, led by then Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque, on Jan 11, 2011 had approved the leave to appeal of the government.

The court also ordered the state to hand over the case’s ‘concise statement’ within 30 days, but it was handed over to the Attorney General’s office on Oct 31 for its submission to the Appellate Division, after about 20 months of the Appellate Division’s approval to the state’s petition.

The Attorney General’s office submitted ‘concise statement’ of the jail killing case to the Appellate Division on Nov 1 and will appeal on Nov 4 to hold hearing on the case.

However, ruling party General Secretary and LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, also the son of wartime national government’s acting President Syed Nazrul Islam, on Saturday said, “We observe and mark days like August 15, Jail Killing Day, Independence Day and Victory Day, so that the young generation knows the correct history.”

“So they can know about those who have sacrificed for the nation, for independence,” he said.

Son of M Mansur Ali and former Home Minister Mohammad Nasim said, “I would urge the judges at Supreme Court to deliver justice. Why did not the nation get justice?”

He said former Law Minister Moudud Ahmed had applied many tricks to thwart the trial process. “It was a mockery in the name of justice.”

Awami League Advisory Council member Amir Hossain Amu said those who opposed during the War of Independence were still plotting to destroy the sovereignty of the country.

“Supporters of the independence have been attacked many times after the father of the nation [Bangabandhu] was killed. The jail killings were also a part of that conspiracy.”

Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif said the trial of the accused in the jail killing case would be completed within the present government’s tenure. “Jail killing was not a small piece of conspiracy. This was a continuous part after the Aug 15 assassination.”

The wartime national government’s Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed’s daughter Simin Hossain Rimi, discussion, said, “An investigation committee was formed after the assassination of the four national leaders. But BNP closed the investigation work later.”

Awami League Presidium member Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury presided over the discussion where State Law Minister Qamrul Islam and Metropolitan Awami League unit President MA Aziz also spoke among others.

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