Verdict in August 21 grenade attack case today
09 Oct 2018, 14:20 | updated: 10 Oct 2018, 13:33
Dhaka 1st Speedy Trial Tribunal is scheduled to deliver its much-awaited judgment on Tuesday (tomorrow) in the two cases lodged over the August 21, 2004 grisly grenade attack on an Awami League rally, bringing an end to more than 14 years of wait for justice.
On September 18, the tribunal set October 10 to pronounce the judgment after hearing arguments for 118 days in the sensational case, reports the BSS.
The prosecution in the cases, one lodged for murder and another filed under the explosive substance act, said they have been able to prove all the charges including planning of the attack, executing the plan, destroying the evidences, attempts to protect the attackers.
‘The attack was mainly aimed to eliminate the leadership of Awami League and consolidate the power of then BNP-Jamaat alliance government and make their reign everlasting,’ said special public prosecutor Abdullah Abu.
The hearing of the two cases took place simultaneously at Dhaka 1st Speedy Trial Tribunal.
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 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.
‘Tarique Rahman was the mastermind behind the attack, whose main target was to kill then leader of the opposition and Awami League president Sheikh Hasina. Then BNP lawmaker Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad arranged meetings between attackers and plotters at Tarique Rahman’s political office Hawa Bhaban,’ prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kazal said in his arguments.
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.