Dhaka, March 23 : A total of 14 militants of Harkatul Jihad Al Islami Bangladesh (HUJI-B) would be executed by firing squad in public or by hanging, 21 years after they had plotted the assassination of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
On July 21, 2000, a powerful 76 kg bomb was planted near the venue of the meeting of Hasina at Kotalipara in Gopalganj. The next day, another 40 kg bomb was also recovered.
Abu Jafar Md Kamruzzaman, the Judge of Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal-1, a special tribunal of Bangladesh, while pronouncing the verdict on Tuesday, said: “The convicts planted the bomb to oust the democratic and legitimate government by killing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and leaders and activists of Awami League.”
“The anti-liberation forces are continuing their conspiracies since their defeat in the War of Liberation,” the court said.
“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 horrible and brutal incidents by giving exemplary punishments to the convicts,” it added.
Md Kamruzzaman sentenced the 14 members of the banned HUJI-B to death in a sedition case filed for plotting to kill Hasina by planting bombs at the temporary helipad at Sheikh Lutfor Rahman Government Ideal College ground in 2000.
The judgement was passed in a crowded courtroom on Tuesday, Public Prosecutor of the court Abu Abdullah Bhuiyan told IANS.
HUJI top leader Mufti Abdul Hannan was the prime accused in the case, but his name was dropped after he was executed in a case of grenade attack on Anwar Chowdhury, former British High Commissioner in Dhaka in 2004 at a 14th-century Sufi shrine in Sylhet, in which three people died.
Chowdhury had sustained leg injuries.
Mufti Abdul Hannan, the top leader of HUJI-B, was hanged at the same time as two associates on April 12, 2017. All had been found guilty. A total of 34 witnesses out of 50 were examined by the court in the case.
The convicts are Md Azizul Haque alias Shanewaj, Md Lokman, Md Eusuf alias Mochahab Morol, Mochab Hossain alias Rashu, Sheikh Md Enamul Haque, Md Mofijur Rahman alias Mofij, Md Mahmud Ajhar alias Mamunur Rashid, Md Rasheduzzaman alias Shimul, Md Tarek, Md Wadud Sheikh alias Gazi Khan, Md Anisul Islam, Sarwar Hossain Miah, Mawlana Amirul Islam alias Jennat Munshi and Mawlana Rafikul Islam Khan.
Of the 14, Md Azizul Haque alias Shanewaj, Md Lokman, Md Eusuf alias Mochahab Morol, Mochab Hossain alias Rashu and Sheikh Md Enamul Haque are yet to be arrested and were tried in absentia.
The then sub-inspector of police Nur Hossain of Kotalipara Police Station filed the case under the Explosive Substances Act. ASP Abdul Kahhar Akand on November 15, 2001, filed a charge-sheet against 15 people in the case and the court on November 21, 2004, framed charges against the accused.