HIGH COURT SENTENCES 12 TO DEATH FOR KILLING COUNTRY´S FOUNDER IN COUP
May 07 2001
A trial verdict from Bangladesh´s High Court has upheld death sentences for 12 former army officers convicted of the 1975 murder of the country´s founding president, Sheikh Mujibar Rahman.
Justice Mohammad Fazlul Karim pronounced the verdict April 30, resolving an earlier split decision and ending a trial begun in 1996 at the Dhaka District and Session Court. However, the verdict can be appealed.
Following the ruling, crowds staged processions around the High Court premises welcoming the judgment.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, one of two living daughters of Rahman, popularly known as "Bangabandhu" (friend of Bangladesh), held a thanksgiving prayer at her father´s house in Dhaka, where he was shot dead with other family members during a coup.
Twenty-one years after that, with the Awami (people´s) League that Rahman co-founded in power again and his daughter at the helm of the party and the nation, a case was filed with the police by Rahman´s assistant Mohitul Islam.
Eventually 20 people were charged, and in November 1998 the Dhaka District and Session Court convicted 15 of them and sentenced them all to death.
The case was referred to the High Court, where a two-judge bench issued a split decision last December, one judge voting to uphold all 15 sentences and the other judge voting to uphold 10 and acquit the other five accused.
Of the 12 men whose death sentences have now been upheld, only four are in custody, the other 8 believed to be out of the country.
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