Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bangladesh Justice Takes 35 Years To Punish the Killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

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Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the leader of
Bangladesh independence movement

Photo courtesy: Press and Information Department (PID),
Govt. of Bangladesh, 1972



After long 35 years, the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, hangs five of 12 convicted killers of the Bangabandhu (friend of Bengal) on January 28, 2010 early morning, reports The Daily Star of Dhaka.

Heavy security measures were taken both inside and around Dhaka Central Jail, where these convicted persons have been hanged: Lt. Col. Syed Farooq Rahman, Lt. Col. Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Lt. Col. Mohiuddin Ahmed, Major Bazlul Huda, and army lancer A.K.M. Mohiuddin Ahmed. The Bangladesh Supreme Court on January 27 rejected the appeals of these men against their conviction.

On November 19, 2009, the Supreme Court had awarded death sentence to 12 living convicts -- of whom, these five men were already in Dhaka Central Jail, and six others (Lt. Col. Khandakar Abdur Rashid, Lt. Col. Shariful Huq Dalim, Lt. Col. A.M. Rashed Chowdhury, Lt. Col. Noor Chowdhury, Captain Abdul Mazed and Risaldar Moslemuddin) have been absconding from Bangladesh and living in different countries -- USA, Canada, Libya, and some European countries). One othe convicted person died in Zimbabwe, Africa.

Background

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gave the lead to Bangladesh independence movement in 1971. After independence, he gave leadership to the new country. Those who were pro-Pakistan and against the independence were looking for ways to undo the new country. They, along with some foreign countries, influenced and supported a group of young army officers to revolt and stage a coup against the elected government of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

These army officers, on August 15, 1975, attacked the house of President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and brutally shot and killed him, his wife, two sons and their wives, and one young son and many others who worked in his house. A total of 20 people were killed in the house that night. Sheikh Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana, two daughters of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, escaped the massacre because they were in Europe at that time.

When Sheikh Hasina came to power for the first time in 1996, she started the trial of these army officers by removing the "Indemnity Act" which was enacted by the killers with the help of Khondokar Mustaque Ahmed as the president of the new military government. This infamous Act barred anyone from taking action against the killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and members of his family. Previously, Khondokar Mustaque Ahmed was important Awami League member and a minister of Bangladesh under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

In 1998, fifteen persons were found guilty and sentenced to death. In 2001, the High Court acquitted three. As Sheikh Hasina lost power as the Prime Minister in 2001, the new government of Khaleda Zia, her bitter rival, did not pursue the case any further.

After winning landslide victory in 2008, Sheikh Hasina restarted the case which came to conclusion with the execution of the five killers. Bookmark and Share