:: Peoples Time Online ::
A Dhaka court has sentenced 19 people including former State Minister Lutfozzaman Babar to death and 19 people including acting chairperson of BNP Tarique Rahman to life imprisonment in the two cases lodged over the August 21, 2004 grisly grenade attack on an Awami League rally.
Judge Shahed Nur Udin of Dhaka 1st Speedy Trial Tribunal passed the order on Wednesday.
Earlier, a total of 31 accused of August 21 grenade attack cases including former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar and former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu were brought to the Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 at Old Dhaka’s Nazimuddin Road from Kashimpur Central Jail in Gazipur in three prison vans around 11:20am.
On September 18, the tribunal set October 10 to pronounce the judgment after hearing arguments for 118 days in the sensational case.
Assailants carried out the attack with military hardware “Arges grenades” on an anti-terrorism rally of the then main opposition Awami League while its president and incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was visibly their prime target but she narrowly escaped the assault sustaining permanent hearing impairment.
A total of 24 AL leaders and workers, including the then Mohila Awami League President and wife of late President Zillur Rahman, Ivy Rahman, were killed and around 500 others were injured in the monstrous attack.
Fifty-two people were held accused in the case while prosecution suggested an influential quarter of the then BNP regime, including party’s senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman, masterminded the shocking plot engaging militant outfit HuJI and subsequently made a desperate attempt to protect the assailants.
A total of 31 accused including two former ministers faced the trial in person while 18 including Tarique Rahman were tried in absentia.
Tarique, now in London, and 17 others including several intelligence officials were earlier declared “absconding” as they were on the run to evade justice.
Eight suspects including three former police chiefs were on bail as the trial was underway while the court on September 18 scrapped their bail and ordered their confinement in jail with due facilities they deserved under law.
Three of the accused, including top HuJI leader Mufty Abdul Hannan, however, were executed after trial in other cases.