The High Court finally started hearing death references and appeals of the convicts in the two cases filed over the grenade attack on an Awami League rally in the capital's Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004.
A High Court division bench comprising Justice Shahidul Karim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman started the hearing as the matters came on top of its cause list for today (Dec 5).
"The High Court today started hearing the matters. Today FIR was read out, followed by part of charge sheet. We would be able to complete reading out the charge sheet within a day or two," Attorney General AM Amin Uddin said.
The chief state counsel hoped that the cases would be disposed of soon at the High Court division and the lower court judgments would be upheld.
Earlier Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique had designated this bench to hold hearing on the matters, following a plea of Attorney General AM Amin Uddin.
"The two cases, one for murder and another filed under Explosives Substances Act, are very important. The plotters behind the heinous crime had tried to destroy our democratic system through that unprecedented attack," the Attorney General said.
At least 24 people, including the then Mohila Awami League President and wife of late President Zillur Rahman, Ivy Rahman, were killed and around 500 injured in the gruesome attack on an Awami League rally on the capital's Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004. Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, the then opposition leader in parliament, narrowly escaped the attack with severe ear injuries.
A Dhaka court on October 10, 2018, sentenced to death 19 people, including former state minister for home Lutfuzzaman Babar, and awarded life imprisonment to another 19, including BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman, in the murder case filed over that heinous incident.
Judge Shahed Nuruddin of Dhaka's Speedy Trial Tribunal in his judgement also sentenced 11 others to different terms of jail.
The judge also made a 12-point observation on the background, motive and consequences of the attack, mainly targeting incumbent Prime Minister and the then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina, who narrowly escaped the assault sustaining wounds.
The death penalty convicts are: Lutfuzzaman Babar, Abdus Salam Pintu, Mawlana Tajuddin, intelligence officials Major General (Retd) Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury and Brigadier General Abdur Rahim, transport operator Md Hanif, militants Mowlana Sheikh Abdus Salam, Abdul Mazed Bhat, Abdul Malek, Shawkat Osman, Mohibullah, Abu Sayeed, Abul Kalam Azad, Jahangir Alam, Hafez Abu Taher, Hossain Ahammed Tamim, Moin Uddin Sheikh, Rafikul Islam and Md Uzzal.
Other than Rahman, the political figures who were handed down life imprisonments are - ex-premier Khaleda Zia's the then political adviser Haris Chowdhury and former BNP lawmaker Qazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad.
The others to serve the life term are - militants Shahadat Ullah alias Jewel, Abdur Rouf, Sabbir Ahmed, Arif Hasan, Hafez Yahia, Abu Bokor, Ariful Islam, Mohibul Muttakin, Anisul Mursalin, Mohammad Khalil, Jahangir Alam Badar, Mohammad Iqbal, Liton, Shafikur Rahman, Abdul Hai and Ratul Ahmed Babu.
BDST: 1833 HRS, DEC 5, 2022