5 defence counsels' arguments end | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 04, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:29 AM, January 04, 2018

Aug 21 Grenade Attack

5 defence counsels' arguments end

The defence lawyer for fugitive accused Md Hanif yesterday completed closing arguments and sought acquittal of his client in cases filed over the August 21 grenade attack on an Awami League rally back in 2004, saying the charges were not proven.

State-appointed lawyer Chaitanya Chandra Halder yesterday argued for Hanif, owner of Hanif Paribahan, for an hour, arguing that the charges brought against his client were not proved.

The prosecution has completely failed to prove the charges of criminal conspiracy and other charges including killing charges against Hanif and he should be acquitted, Chaitanya argued.

Meanwhile, defence lawyers for four other accused including former BNP lawmaker Kazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad yesterday also completed their closing arguments and sought acquittal of their clients of the charges.

After the arguments for the second day, Judge Shahed Nuruddin of the Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 of Dhaka set January 9 for next hearing in the cases for placing defence arguments of other accused.

Twenty-four leaders and activists of the Awami League and its associate bodies were killed and over 300 others suffered injuries in the attack. Ivy Rahman, the then Mohila AL president and also the wife of late president Zillur Rahman, was among the killed.

Many of the injured became crippled for life while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the then opposition leader, narrowly escaped the attack with ear injuries.

Of the 49 accused, eight, including three former inspectors general of police, are now on bail, while 18, including BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman, have been absconding.

In his arguments, Chaitanya said Mufti Abdul Hannan, leader of banned militant outfit Harkatul Jihad al Islami (Huji), in his confessional statement given on April 7 of 2011, said Hanif was present at the house of the then deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu in Dhanmondi where a meeting for criminal conspiracy was held.

But 19 prosecution witnesses gave testimonies before the tribunal, saying that the meeting for criminal conspiracy with an aim to carry out the grenade attacks on the AL rally at Bangabandhu Avenue was held at Hawa Bhaban in Banani.

So, there was contradiction between the confessional statement of Mufti Hannan and the testimonies of 19 prosecution witnesses, Chaitanya added.

The lawyer also cited different rulings of other courts in support of acquitting his client. 

In the meantime, advocate Ashraf Ul Alam completed arguments for Kaikobad and sought acquittal of his client.

State-appointed lawyers for Abul Harris Chowdhury, Md Khalil and Anisul Mursalin also completed their arguments.  

On Monday, the prosecution completed their closing arguments and sought the highest punishment for all the accused.

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