The victims of the August 21 grenade attack on Monday demanded death penalty for BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman over the heinous attack on an Awami League rally in 2004.
The demand came at a diplomatic briefing organised by Awami League on the current political affairs at a city hotel that sought support from the international community to bring back the fugitive perpetrators to face justice and uphold the rule of law.
The briefing was chaired by Ambassador Mohammad Zamir, Chairman of the Bangladesh Awami League International Affairs Subcommittee, and directed by the party’s International Affairs Secretary Dr Shammi Ahmed. The event was moderated by Barrister Shah Ali Farhad.
On Wednesday, a speedy trial tribunal sentenced 19 people to death, 19 others, including BNP acting Chairman Tarique Rahman, to life imprisonment and eight more to different terms of jail in two cases filed over the August 21 grenade attack on an Awami League rally in the capital in 2004.
The Awami League leaders present at the briefing stated that the killing of then opposition leader and current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and rendering Awami League leaderless were the main objective of the grenade attack.
Representatives from 50 countries and international organisations, including the UK, the USA, the EU, Australia, India and China, attended the briefing.
Victims of the August 21 grenade attack were also present at the event.
“Even 14 years on, I still suffer from the pain from the splinters in my body and the doctors have said that I might need to amputate my left leg,” said Dr Rumi, one of the victims of the attack.
Selim, another victim present at the event, said before he dies, his only wish is to see the death penalty executed for all the perpetrators of the attack, including Tarique Rahman.
Everyone present at the briefing became emotional upon hearing the first-hand accounts of the victims.
AL Presidium Member Lt Col (retd) Faruk Khan, MP, Joint General Secretary and former Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni, MP, and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, MP, were present.
Faruk Khan recounted the heinous attack and described how the then BNP-Jamaat government thwarted investigation using state machinery.
State Minister Shahriar Alam said although he was content that the verdict was finally out, he expressed reservations with the verdict for not having given Tarique Rahman the death penalty for being the mastermind of the attack.
Dr Shammi Ahmed sought support from the international community to bring back the fugitive perpetrators to face justice and uphold the rule of law.