Fourteen militants of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJi) have been sentenced to death in a sedition case filed over a plot to kill Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by planting a 76kg bomb at Kotalipara in Gopalganj in 2000.
Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 handed down the verdict on Tuesday amid tight security on the court premises. Nine of the convicts were present in the dock while five others were on the run.The court said in its verdict that the death penalty will be executed by a firing squad publicly, but if it is not possible, the conviction will be executed as per the existing law.
The convicts are Md Anisul Islam alias Anis, Md Azizul Haque alias Shahnur, Mofizur Rahman alias Mohibullah, Mahmud Azhar alias Mamunur Rashid, Md Rasheduzzaman alias Shimul, Md Tarek Hossain alias Marfat Ali, Md Abdul Wadud Mollah, Md Sarwar Hossain Miah, Md Lokman, Md Yusuf alias Mochhhab Morol, Sheikh Md Enamul Haque, Mosahed Hasan, Maulana Amirul Islam alias Jinnat Munshi, and Maulana Rafiqul Islam.
Five of the convicts -- Lokman, Azizul, Enamul, Mosahed and Yusuf – remained fugitive.
The court in its observation said the convicts planted the bomb to oust the democratic and legitimate government by killing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and leaders and activists of the ruling Awami League.
“The anti-liberation forces are continuing their conspiracies since their defeat in the War of Liberation.”
The court also observed, “They killed Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975 and hatched conspiracies one after another to kill Sheikh Hasina since her return to the country.”“The tribunal believes that it is possible to stop recurrence of such a horrible and brutal incident by giving exemplary punishment to the convicts,” it said.
Public Prosecutor Abu Abdullah Bhuyain expressed his satisfaction over the verdict and said 34 prosecution witnesses, out of 50, were testified before the court in the case.
According to the case statement, a 76kg powerful bomb was planted at Sheikh Lutfor Rahman Government Ideal College playground at Kotalipara, where Sheikh Hasina, in her first term as prime minister, was scheduled to address an election rally on July 22, 2000.
Another 40kg powerful bomb was also planted at the temporary helipad on the same venue. Army personnel seized the bombs on July 21 and 23 respectively.
ASP Munshi Atiqur Rahman of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) filed the case with Kotalipara police station on September 23, 2000 on a charge of sedition.
ASP Abdul Kahhar Akand of the CID submitted a charge sheet in the case on November 15, 2001. The court framed charges on November 21, 2004.
Earlier on August 20, 2017, a trial court delivered verdict in two more cases filed over the same horrendous incident.
Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal 2 sentenced 10 HuJi members to death and four others to imprisonment for different terms in the case filed under the Special Powers Act.
On the same day, the tribunal also jailed nine accused for 20 years in the case filed under the Explosive Substances Act.
On February 17 this year, the High Court upheld the death penalty of 10 convicts and life imprisonment of a convict and 14 years’ imprisonment of two convicts in the case filed under the Special Powers Act. The higher court acquitted one convict in the case.
HuJI Kingpin Mufti Abdul Hannan was the prime accused in the cases, but his name was dropped as he was executed in a gradate attack case.