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Dhaka Tribune

‘Zia discussed Col Taher’s fate before court martial’

Update : 21 May 2013, 04:19 AM

In its full verdict published Monday, the High Court bench, which declared the 1976 court martial of Col Abu Taher illegal, made reference to a book written by BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed that discusses the execution.

In his book Democracy and the Challenge of Development: A study of Political and Military Interventions in Bangladesh, Moudud, a former BNP law minister, hinted that BNP founder Gen Ziaur Rahman had decided Taher’s fate before the court martial.

According to the verdict, on pages 29-30 of his book, Moudud, a close associate of Zia, wrote: “Why did Zia allow Taher to be hanged, the person who freed him from captivity?...The officers who had not taken part in the Liberation War, had found a new ally in Zia after the killing of Mujib and removal of Mushtaque. They needed each other to survive both as a class and a force in the civil-military structure of the country. When it came to sentencing Taher, the repatriated officers wanted him hanged. Out of the 46 senior army officers summoned by Zia to discuss the issue, all were in favour of this ultimate and final form of punishment.”

In a footnote, the writer, who also served military dictator HM Ershad’s cabinet, said: “This was disclosed to him by Zia himself.”

On March 22, 2011, a HC bench comprising Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Sheikh M Jakir Hossain declared the secret trial illegal and unconstitutional. In its full verdict, the court declared Taher’s execution a “cold-blooded assassination.”

“Taher’s so-called execution was actually cold-blooded murder by none other than Ziaur Rahman,” the HC said in its verdict.

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