Bangabandhu Killing: Convicted killer held, sent to jail
Hours after his arrest, a Dhaka court yesterday sent Capt Abdul Majed, convicted killer of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj.
A team of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police detained him from the capital's Mirpur, CTTC chief Monirul Islam told The Daily Star.
Hemayet Uddin Khan, assistant public prosecutor of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court of Dhaka, told The Daily Star, "Majed returned to the country on March 15 or 16 from Kolkata. He claimed that he had been hiding there for about 23 years."
The lawyer talked to Majed before the court proceedings began.
A CTTC high official, requesting anonymity, said during primary interrogation, Majed, the self-declared killer of Bangabandhu, told them that after returning home, he stayed in different houses, but had communications with his family.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Dhaka AM Zulfikar Hayat sent him to jail after he was produced before the court.
The court also sent a copy of the order to the Dhaka District and Sessions Judge's Court, which earlier sentenced him to death in the case.
The CTTC, in its forwarding report placed before the court, said Majed was arrested near Gabtoli Bus Terminal.
In the report, the CTTC mentioned that a team was on duty in Gabtoli area as a part of regular patrol. Around 3:45am, a man was seen passing the Gabtoli Bus Terminal area on a rickshaw. While talking to the officials, he gave confusing answers and finally disclosed his identity, read the report.
In a video message, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said convicted accused Majed, Nur, and Risaldar Moslehuddin and some others were present on Dhanmondi Road-32 on August 15, 1975, when Bangabandhu and most of his family members were assassinated.
"We have information that Abdul Majed was not only involved in the killing of Bangabandhu, but also in the killings of four national leaders inside jail," said the home minister.
After the killing of Bangabandhu, Majed performed his duties at the Bangabhaban and some other places as per the instructions of late Ziaur Rahman, he said.
The minister added that late president Ziaur Rahman's government awarded the killers in many ways.
Majed went into hiding after the Awami League government came to power in 1997, he said.
"We hope we will be able to execute the verdict … I think it is the best gift for the people during Mujib Borsho," said the minister, adding that all kinds of efforts to bring back the other killers would continue.
According to a home ministry press release, Majed's wife is now living in Cantonment area of Dhaka.
Majed directly took part in the killing of Bangabandhu with other accused, and he was on duty at the radio station with another accused Major Shahriar.
Majed then went to Libya via Bangkok with other officers involved in the killing as per the directive of then army chief Ziaur Rahman, read the release.
Majed was appointed at the Bangladesh embassy in Senegal. He retired from the army to become a deputy secretary and get appointed at the BIWTC on March 26, 1980, by the Ziaur Rahman government, according to the release.
Majed later got promoted to secretary and joined as director of youth development at the youth development ministry. He was later transferred to the national savings department as director, the release added.
Majed can file a petition with the Supreme Court's Appellate Division through the jail authorities, seeking exemption from the murder case.
Abdullah-Al-Mamun, a defence lawyer of Bangabandhu assassination case, said, "If the apex court allows Abdul Majed to move a leave to appeal petition, the process for executing him will be halted. If the Supreme Court dismisses the leave to appeal petition, the authorities can execute him."
He said Majed could move a regular appeal before the SC against the High Court verdict if the apex court granted his leave to appeal petition.
However, Law Minster Anisul Huq said, "After completing the relevant procedures, the court verdict against Abdul Majed will be executed."
In a video message from his house in Gulshan, he said Majed was directly involved in the conspiracy and killing of Bangabandhu and his family members.
"After examining the documents, evidence, and statements from the witnesses, the trial court convicted Abdul Majed and sentenced him to death for the killing. The appellate courts [SC and HC] later upheld the death sentence in the Bangabandhu murder case," he said.
Contacted, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam refused to comment on the legal procedure over executing the SC verdict that upheld the HC judgement confirming the death sentence of 12 killers, including Majed.
On April 30, 2001, the HC confirmed the death sentence of 12 killers -- Syed Farooq-ur Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Muhiuddin Ahmed, AKM Mohiuddin, Bazlul Huda, Shariful Haque Dalim, Khandker Abdur Rashid, Rashed Chowdhury, Nur Chowdhury, Abdul Majed, Moslem Uddin and Aziz Pasha and acquitted three others from the charges of the case.
On November 19, 2009, the SC upheld the HC judgement in the case.
The government executed Farooq, Rashid, Muhiuddin Ahmed, AKM Mohiuddin, and Bazlul on January 28, 2010, after finishing all legal procedures as the then president had rejected their clemency petitions.
Of the six other absconding convicts, Aziz Pasha reportedly died in Zimbabwe. Nur Chowdhury is now in Canada, and Rashed Chowdhury is in the US.