The defence has started its arguments before the tribunal that is trying two cases filed over the August 21, 2004 grenade attack on Sheikh Hasina and other Awami League leaders.
Justice Shahed Nur Uddin of Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal 1 presided over the hearing, held from 12:15pm-2:35pm on Tuesday.
The grisly attack on an Awami League rally in 2004 left 24 people, including Ivy Rahman, wife of late President Zillur Rahman, dead and more than 300 others injured.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, then the opposition leader, survived the attack with a serious hearing impairment.
At the beginning of the hearing on Tuesday, chief state counsel Syed Rezaur Rahman thanked the tribunal for listening to the state’s closing arguments the previous day.
Afterwards, another prosecution lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajal also spoke before the tribunal.
He said the state would submit to the court information related to the conspiracy to wipe out Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s family through the grenade attack. He also highlighted the context and various aspects of the conspiracy.
Later, state-appointed defence lawyer Chaitanya Chandra Haldar presented the arguments in favour of fugitive accused Mohammad Hanif, owner of Hanif Paribahan.
Around 2:30pm, the tribunal called it a day and ordered the defence to resume hearing from 11am Wednesday.
Talking to reporters outside the courtroom, Chaitanya said he argued that Mufti Hannan, chief of a faction of Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami Bangladesh (HujiB), mentioned the name of fugitive accused Mohammad Hanif in connection with the grenade attack only in his second confessional statement.
No other witness had mentioned Hanif’s name, he added.
Earlier in his closing arguments on Monday, chief state counsel Syed Rezaur Rahman demanded the death penalty for all the 49 accused, including BNP Senior Vice-Chairperson Tarique Rahman and former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar.
Two cases – one under the Explosive Substances Act and another for murder – were filed over the deadly grenade attack on an Awami League rally at Bangabandhu Avenue, Dhaka, on August 21, 2004. Of the 52 accused, 23 are behind bars, including former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar, and BNP leader Abdus Salam Pintu.
Former IGPs Ashraful Huda, Sahudul Haq and Khoda Boksh Chowdhury, Lt Commander (retd) Saiful Islam Duke, former investigation officers Special Superintendent Ruhul Amin and Senior ASP Munshi Atikur Rahman, and ASP Abdur Rashid are among 8 who are out on bail.
Meanwhile, 18 are still shown absconding in the case documents, including BNP Senior Vice-Chairperson Tarique Rahman, BNP leader Harish Chaudhary, former member of parliament Kazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad, Major General (retd) ATM Amin, and Lieutenant Colonel (retd) Saiful Islam Joarder.
In addition, three other accused- Jamaat leaders Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, Mufti Hannan and his associate Sharif Saidul Alam Bipul – have already been executed. Mojaheed was hanged for 1971 war crimes while Hannan and Bipul walked the gallows for the grenade attack.