A Dhaka court has sentenced 11 people to 20 years' imprisonment for attempting to assassinate Awami League President and incumbent Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her family residence in Dhanmondi, Dhaka 28 years ago.
The convicts, all members of Bangladesh Freedom Party, were also sentenced to life-time imprisonment for hurling bombs at the Dhandmondi Road 32 residence of Hasina's father and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 11, 1989.
Judge Md Zahidul Kabir of Dhaka Fourth Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge’s Court issued the verdict on Sunday.
The convicts were fined Tk20,000 each in both the cases and an additional six months in prison in case of default.
The accused include Najmul Maksud Murad, Lt Col Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Gulam Sarwar Faruk alias Mamun, Joj Miah, Freedom Sohel, Gazi Imam Hossain, Khandaker Amirul Islam Kajol, Mizanur Rahman, Md Shahjahan Balu, Jafar Ahmed and Md Humayun Kabir.
One of the accused in the cases, Humayun Kabir, was acquitted as the charges against him were not proven at court.
Expressing satisfaction over the verdict, Public prosecutor Abdullah Abu said the attack was carried out in continuation of the brutal assassination of Sheikh Hasina's family that took place on August 15, 1975.
“They wanted to make the Awami League leaderless by killing Sheikh Hasina. The court has ensured their punishment and we are happy for that,” he added.
A total of 12 witnesses testified before the court since the deposition recording began on August 27, 2009 in two cases on the attack.
According to the cases, seven or eight armed activists of Bangladesh Freedom Party, riding two three-wheelers, came to the residence of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Road 32 in Dhanmondi on August 11, 1989.
Forcing into the residence, the miscreants hurled grenades and opened fire at the building, where Hasina was staying at the time.
In retaliation, police members Habilder Jahirul Haque and Constable Zakir Hossain, who were stationed at the premises for security, opened fire at the attackers, who fled the scene chanting slogans such as “Col Farooq Zindabad”.
Later, Jahirul filed two cases with Dhanmondi police station under the Explosives Substances Act and the Penal Code.
On February 20, 1997, the then assistant superintendent of Criminal Investigation Department (CID),
Khalekuzzaman, who also investigated the cases, submitted charge sheets accusing 16 people.
The trial in the case began on July 5, 2009.