Court sets Oct 10 for Aug 21 grenade attack verdict

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DHAKA, Sept 18, 2018 – The special court, trying the August 21,
2004 grenade attack case, today set October 10 for delivering its verdict
wrapping up the protracted trial of the attack that killed 24 people and
wounded some 500 others.

“The trial process continued for a long time and now reached a stage…the
hearing process ended today,” judge Shahed Nuruddin of Dhaka’s 1st Speedy
Trial Tribunal pronounced after 118 days of argument.

He added: “The date for delivering the verdict is on 10-10-2018”.

Nuruddin said during the long period he tried to realise with “my heart”
the entire episode and observed the accused present on the dock “sitting in
my judge’s chair”.

“The judgment and order will be delivered taking into cognisance the
entire episode of the case and reviewing the legal aspects,” the judge said.

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.

The prosecution side said they were satisfied as the time was now set for
delivering the judgment of the much-talked-about the trial.

“We hope we could have proved the allegation brought against all the
accused beyond doubt,” chief prosecutor of the case Syed Rezaur Rahman said.

He said the 21 August grenade attack was the most brutal, barbaric and
heinous incident in the recent history while it was aimed to kill Sheikh
Hasina, the daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu, and also to expose
Awami League (AL) leadership to a state of vacuum.

“There is no instance in the subcontinent when ‘arges grenades’ were used
against unarmed people,” Rahman said.

He said the prosecution produced before the court the evidence related to
the sources of grenades and supply of finance, the attack plot; attempt to
destroy evidence and successfully unearthed the “Joj Mia” episode formulated
by the then regime to create a smokescreen over the case.

“We expect that the accused will get the capital punishment according to
the law,” Rahman said.

Another prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kajol said the mystery behind the
case was exposed through frequent investigation into the incident where
mastermind of the attack found involved.

“The motive of all accused in the case was identical,” he said.

Sub-Inspector (SI) Faruk Hossain of Motijheel police station, AL leader
late Abdul Jalil and Saber Hossain filed separate three cases with Motijheel
police station after the grisly grenade attack.

The president of Awami League’s women associate body and late President
Zillur Rahman’s wife Ivy Rahman were among who killed in the grenade attack
while many survivors were crippled for life.

Fifty two accused were held in the case while prosecution suggested an
influential quarter of the then BNP regime masterminded its shocking plot
engaging militant outfit HuJI and subsequently made desperate efforts to
protect the assailants.

A total of 31 accused, including two former ministers, faced the trial
in person while 18 including BNP senior vice president and ex-premier Khaleda
Zia’s elder son Tarique Rahman were tried in absentia.

Rahman, 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 today 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, was by now executed after trial in other cases.bss