A Khulna court yesterday sentenced five outlaws to life imprisonment in a case filed in connection with the murder of Ekushey Padak recipient and journalist Humayun Kabir Balu in 2004.
Judge Saifuzzaman Hero, of Khulna Jono Nirapotta Bignokari Aporadh Daman Tribunal, announced the verdict in the explosives case.
The court also fined each convict Tk 10,000.
The convicts are: Syed Iqbal Hossain alias Swadhin, Nazul alias Ripon alias Nazul Islam alias Khora Nazul, Masum alias Jahangir, Rimon alias Asaduzzaman and Zahid Hossain alias Sabuj alias Zahidur Rahman. They are members of outlawed Purbo Banglar Communist Party (Jonojuddho).
Zahid, Nazul, Rimon and Swadhin were present in the court, while another convict Jahangir is on the run.
Balu was the editor of local "Dainik Janmabhumi" and president of Khulna Press Club. He was bombed to death while entering his office-cum-residence on Haji Meher Ali road in Khulna city on June 27, 2004.
The next day, Sub-Inspector Maruf Ahmed of Khulna Sadar Police Station filed two cases -- one for murder and another under the explosives act.
On February 13, 2008, all seven accused were acquitted of murder case.
Public Prosecutor Arif Liton told The Daily Star that state lawyer Enamul Haque appealed to the court for further probing the explosives case on April 15, 2009.
On April 20 that year, Judge Muhammad Sakendar Ali of Khulna Jono Nirapotta Bignokari Aporadh Daman Tribunal ordered a further investigation into the case.
Shahadat Hasan, assistant superintendent of the Criminal Investigation Department, filed a supplementary charge sheet against the five convicts on December 31, 2015.
Out of 58 witnesses, eight testified before the court.