The Sylhet Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal framed charges against 32 accused on September 13, 2015
Sunday marks the 14th anniversary of the brutal murder of former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria and four other Awami League leaders.
Although 14 years have passed since the heinous attack, no significant progress has been made in the investigation of the two cases regarding the incident. Family members of Kibria and other victims of the attack have expressed grave dissatisfaction over the status of the investigation and trial proceedings.
On January 27, 2005, Kibria, his nephew Shah Manzurul Huda, and local Awami League leaders Abdur Rahim, Abul Hossain and Siddiq Ali were killed and more than 100 others injured in a grenade attack on a rally held at Baidyer Bazar in Sadar upazila of Habiganj.
When contacted, Abul Hossain’s widow Asia Khatun said her life and that of her children has been miserable since her husband’s death.
Siddiq Ali’s son Kuddus Mia and Shah AMS Kibria's son Reza Kibria also expressed frustration at the delay in the trial of the cases, with Reza saying he was beginning to lose hope of getting justice.
Habiganj Awami League General Secretary Abdul Mazid Khan, who sustained severe wounds from shrapnel in the attack and filed the two cases with Kotwali police over the incident on January 28, 2005, said he is hopeful that a verdict in the cases would be reached in the near future.
Habiganj 3 constituency MP Md Abu Zahir echoed Abdul Mazid, saying that the trial of the cases would be completed in the tenure of the current government.
The Sylhet Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal has had to defer the trial proceedings frequently due to the absence of the accused and witnesses, he added.
According to sources, the then assistant superintendent of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police submitted charge sheets in the cases, naming 10 leaders and activists of BNP as the accused, on March 20, 2005.
Later, CID Assistant Superintendent Rafiqul Islam submitted supplementary charge-sheets in the cases, following a no-confidence petition filed by the plaintiff on the previous one, on June 20, 2011.
Names of 14 new accused, including former state minister for home Luthfuzzaman Babar, were included in the supplementary charge sheet.
However, Kibria’s wife Asma Kibria filed a petition with the High Court on June 28, 2011, seeking further investigation into the grenade attack.
After completing the fresh investigation, CID Regional Senior Assistant Superintendent Meherunnessa Parul submitted a second supplementary to the Habiganj district Judicial Magistrate’s Court on November 13, 2014.
The names of 11 more accused, including BNP Chairperson’s Political Adviser Haris Chowdhury, Sylhet city’s suspended mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury, and Habiganj mayor GK Gaus, were incorporated in the second supplementary charge sheet, while three names from the previous charge sheets were dropped. This brings the total number of accused in the cases to 32.
The Sylhet Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal framed charges against the 32 accused on September 13, 2015, after the cases were transferred to the tribunal on June 11, 2015.
Among the accused, 3 have been hanged in other cases, 10 are in jail, 12 are out on bail, and seven are still absconding.