The state counsel for jail killing case, Anisul Haque, on Wednesday handed over ‘concise statement’ to the Attorney General’s office for its submission to the Appellate Division.
He submitted the summary statement of appeal, taking the historical case to the next stage at the apex court, after about 20 months of the Appellate Division’s approval to a government petition for leave to appeal.
Anisul Haque said after this step, the case would reach the appeal hearing stage, the final stage for disposal of this criminal case.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said, “We will file an application in the Appellate Division for hearing this case on Nov 4, and submit the concise statement in the meantime.”
A regular bench of the Appellate Division, led by then Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque, on January 11, 2011 had approved the leave to appeal of the state.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has asked Dafadar Marfat Ali Shah and Abul Hashem Mridha, the two accused in the jail killing case acquitted by the High Court earlier, to surrender to law enforcers. The court also asked the police to arrest them if they did not surrender immediately.
But the state counsel said, “Police couldn’t arrest them as they are absconding. I am not sure about their whereabouts but can assure that they are not in Bangladesh.”
“If they do not surrender, they will not have the right to engage lawyer to fight for them at the Appellate Division, and there is no bar to proceed with the final hearing without their representation by a lawyer in such a situation.”
The Appellate Division in its previous order termed “inactive” the appeal against the High Court verdict that acquitted Faruq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid, Bazlul Huda and A K M Mahiuddin, as they had been executed for their conviction in the Bangabandhu murder case.
The government, during the hearing of leave to appeal, first prayed for conducting the trial again, but then changed its stance to avoid delay as most of the allegedly accused in this case were sentenced to different terms in the Bangabandhu case.
The four leaders of the wartime national government—Acting President Syed Nazrul Islam, Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed and Cabinet ministers M Mansur Ali and AHM Qamruzzaman—were brutally killed inside the Dhaka Central Jail on Nov 3, 1975.
The Awami League government had revived the trial in the jail killing case after it came to power in 1996.
Charge sheets were submitted against 23 people on Oct 15, 1998.
On Oct 20, 2004, Dhaka’s Metropolitan Sessions Court Judge Matiur Rahman had awarded death sentences to fugitives Risaldar Moslem Uddin, Dafadar Marfat Ali Shah and Abul Hashem Mridha in the jail killing case.
It also awarded lifer to Syed Faruk Rahman, Sultan Shahrier Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda and AKM Mahiuddin Ahmed — all of whom were executed for the murder of Bangabandhu — and 12 others.
But, the High Court in 2008 upon petitions acquitted Marfat Ali, Hashem Mridha, Faruk, Shahrier, Bazlul and AKM Mahiuddin Ahmed.
On Sep 14, 2009, the government filed the petition for leave to appeal against the High Court judgment. The hearing on the petition began on Nov 7, 2009.
The 2008 High Court verdict acquitting six former army personnel in the jail killing case was done without properly examining the documents and evidence, said a statement prepared for launching a pending appeal against the ruling.
The state counsels in their concise statement addressed to the Appellate Division termed the HC verdict “distorted and arbitrary”.
Principal state counsel for the case Anisul Huq on Wednesday gave the statement to the attorney general’s office to file it to the Appellate Division of Supreme Court for hearing a pending appeal against the judgment.
The HC in its verdict on August 28, 2008 acquitted the six personnel from the charge of killing four national leaders–Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, AHM Qamruzzaman, and Captain Mansur Ali inside the Dhaka Central Jail on November 3, 1975.
But all of these personnel were found guilty in the lower court on October 20, 2004. Two out of six were awarded death sentence, and the rest life term imprisonment.
Those awarded capital punishment are: Dafadar (dismissed) Marfat Ali Shah and Dafadar (dismissed) Abdul Hashem Mridha. They are absconding.
Those awarded life term are: Lt Col (dismissed) Syed Farooq-ur Rahman, Lt Col (retd) Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Maj (retd) AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed and Major (retd) Bazlul Huda. They have been executed on January 27, 2010 in the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman murder case.
The lower court in 2004 also awarded life-term to eight others—about whom the HC had no say in 2008. In its statement on Wednesday, the government urged the Appellate Division to uphold the life-term imprisonment of these eight—all of whom are absconding.
After the Awami League-led government assumed power, it filed a leave to appeal petition in September 2009. The Supreme Court in the following January accepted the petition and directed the two accused persons (Marfat and Hashem) given capital punishment earlier to surrender to the court.
Earlier on Wednesday, Anisul Huq told reporters at his office that the 2008 high court verdict denied the nation of any justice in the much-talked about case.
He said the government took much time to prepare the 25-page concise statement as they had to examine the statements made by total 64 prosecution witnesses of the case, although the Appellate Division in January 11 last year gave them one month’s time to do so.
Anisul Huq said the law enforcers could not arrest Dafadar (dismissed) Marfat Ali Shah and Dafadar (dismissed) Abdul Hashem Mridha, two accused of the case, as they are now absconding abroad.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said that the statement will be submitted to the SC within a few days and he would pray on November 4 for fixing a date for hearing the appeal.