The High Court yesterday confirmed the death sentences against six militants for carrying out a suicide bomb attack at Gazipur Bar Association office over 10 years ago that killed nine people and injured around 80.
The court also commuted death sentences of two other accused to life imprisonment and acquitted two others in the sensational murder case.
The accused whose capital punishments were confirmed are Enayet Ullah alias Walid, Arifur Rahman, Saidur Munshi, Abdullah Al Sohaien, Nizam Uddin Reza and Taibur Rahman alias Hassan.
Death penalties of Moshidul Islam alias Masud and Adnan Sami alias Jahangir were commuted to life imprisonment while Ashraful Islam and Md Shafiullah were acquitted of the charges. All the 10 are now behind bars.
On November 29, 2005, suicide bomber Nazir Hossain, also known as Shariat Ullah, of Gaibandha walked into the office on the ground floor of the Hall Building-2 at the Gazipur court and detonated the bomb strapped to his body. The bombing was apparently a part of banned militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh's (JMB) attack on the judiciary.
Among the injured were about 50 lawyers, their assistants and clients who were busy in the office when the attack occurred.
Three people died on the spot while the others at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Among the dead were lawyers Amjad Hossain, Golam Farukh, Nurul Huda and Anwarul Azim.
The JMB had launched attacks in 2005 against the country's judiciary saying man-made laws were not acceptable to it. Members of the organisation carried out at least eight attacks on courts, judges and lawyers in between October and December that year.
Handwritten leaflets, seized by law enforcers after a suicide attack in Jhalakathi on November 14, said: “We don't want Taguti [non-Islamic] law;
let Qur'anic law be introduced. Laws framed by humans cannot continue and only the laws of Allah would prevail.” The attack left two judges killed.
Suspected JMB men blasted bombs simultaneously in Chittagong, Chandpur and Laxmipur courts on October 3, 2005, killing two people and injuring 34 others.
Yesterday, the HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice JBM Hassan came up with the verdict after hearing the death references and appeals filed by the accused.
The grounds for the verdict could not be known as the full text of the judgment was not released.
Talking to The Daily Star, Deputy Attorney General Shaikh AKM Moniruzzaman Kabir said the government would move appeals before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court challenging the portion of the HC verdict that commuted death sentences of two convicts and acquitted two others of the charges.
Helal Uddin Mollah, lawyer for death row convicts Saidur and Taibur, said his clients would file appeals with the SC after receiving the full text of the HC verdict.
The confessional statements of the two convicts were not true as those were not made voluntarily, he claimed.
Saifur Rashid Sabuj, lawyer for another death row convict Enayet Ullah, said the HC confirmed the death sentence of his client based on his confessional statement.
Enayet did not make the confessional statement voluntarily, Saifur told this correspondent, adding that there was not enough evidence against the accused.
The lawyer said his client would lodge an appeal against the HC verdict.
On June 20, 2013, Judge Md Motahar Hossain of Speedy Trial Tribunal-4 of Dhaka had sentenced all the 10 accused to death. The accused later filed separate appeals with the HC challenging the trial court's verdict.