Aug 21 grenade attack trial likely to conclude this month

Publish: 11:25 AM, August 4, 2018 | Update: 11:25:AM, August 4, 2018

DHAKA  – The prosecution in the two sensational cases over the monstrous grenade attacks on an Awami League rally on August 21, 2004, hopes that the trial process will conclude within this month.

“The two cases, one filed for murder and another under the explosives substance act, are at their fag end. But the defence is continuing their all-out efforts to waste time and hinder the trial process. If they didn’t do it, the trials would have completed much earlier,” chief prosecutor Syed Rezaur Rahman told BSS.

The trial process of the two cases is going on simultaneously at the Dhaka 1st Speedy Trial Tribunal, where arguments for 43 accused have been completed so far. The court is scheduled to hear arguments for two more accused.

“The court has been adjourned till August 6. The total number of the accused in the case is 52. Of those, three have been executed in other cases and their names have been dropped. Of the 49 accused, 18 are yet to be arrested and being tried in absentia,” prosecutor advocate Akram Uddin Shyamal said.

Of the accused, 23 including former state minister Lutfuzzaman Babar and deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu, are in jail.

The prosecutor said the placing of arguments for accused BNP leader Abdus Salam Pintu will be completed on August 6, followed by defence lawyer Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, who will place legal arguments for Pintu.

“The court has asked counsels for another accused and BNP leader and former state minister for home affairs Lutfuzzaman Babar to be ready to start their part of arguments after that,” Shyamal added.

Another prosecutor Farhana Reza too echoed her senior Rezaur Rahman’s allegation, saying the defence is trying to waste time deliberately from the very beginning of the trial.

While talking about the legal benefits extended towards the accused, the prosecutor said the court has appointed state defence to defend all fugitives except four.

“All the fugitives, who have been charged for maximum punishment, have got state defence to defend their cases. Only fugitives ATM Amin, Saiful Islam Joarder, Obaidur Rahman Khan and Khan Sayeed Hasan haven’t got any counsels to defend their cases,” she added.

The vicious grenade attack was carried out on an anti-terrorism rally of Awami League, aimed at killing the front ranking leaders including its President and incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to eliminate the party leaderships.

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 500 others were injured.

A total of 225 prosecution witnesses testified in the case, while 20 witnesses were produced by the defence.