Ten members of the banned militant outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) were sentenced to death on Monday for killing five people in a bomb attack on a CBP rally in the capital in 2001.
Dhaka Additional Third Metropolitan Sessions Judges Court handed down the verdict in the case amid tight security in the courtroom.The verdict came just 19 years after militants carried out a violent bomb attack on a political rally at Paltan Maidan on January 20, 2001.
Public Prosecutor Salauddin Hawlader expressed satisfaction over the verdict in the case.
The convicts are Mufti Moinuddin Sheikh, Arif Hossain Sumon, Mawlana Sabbir Ahmed, Shawkat Osman alias Sheikh Farid, Jahangir Alam Badar, Mohibul Muttakin, Aminul Mursalin, Mufti Abdul Hai, Mufti Shafikur Rahman and Nur Islam.
The trial court also fined each of the convicts Tk 20,000.
Four of the convicts — Mufti Moin, Arif Hasan, Sabbir and Shawkat — were present in the dock, but the remaining others were on the run.
However, two accused — Moshiur Rahman and Rafiqul Islam – were acquitted of the charges as they were found not guilty.The court in an observation said the convicts killed five innocent people in a bomb attack on a CPB rally. They also carried out serial bomb attacks and killed people to destroy the country’s independence, democracy and the pro-liberation forces.
The bomb attack was carried out with a view to ousting or embarrassing the then ruling Awami League-led government, the judge said.
The court thinks that these militants should be given exemplary punishments in order to uphold the independence and democracy of Bangladesh.
The judge also said, “Islam is a religion of peace. Allah does not authorise any militant organisation or any party to kill innocent people in the name of religion.”
The accused also killed a number of innocent people by carrying out bomb attacks on the office of Awami League leader Shamim Osman in Narayanganj, and the August 21 grenade attack on an AL rally.
Earlier on December 1, last year, the court set the date to deliver the verdict after concluding arguments hearing in the long-pending case.
HuJI chief Mufti Abdul Hannan, who was executed in another case, was also accused in the CBP rally attack case. His name was dropped from the charge after his execution.
According to the case, five people were killed and 23 others injured in the attack on the CPB rally.
The then CPB president, Manzurul Ahsan Khan, filed the case with Motijheel Police Station.
Police gave the final report in 2003, mentioning that they did not find any credible evidence in the case.
Afterwards, police reopened the case in 2005 and on November 26, 2013, the CID submitted a charge sheet against 13 HuJI members in the case.