Long road to justice | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 29, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 29, 2010

Long road to justice

Following is the chronology of the Bangabandhu murder case:
August 15, 1975: Then president of the country and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members are assassinated.
September 26, 1975: Then self-proclaimed president Khondker Mushtaque Ahmed promulgates infamous Indemnity Ordinance to protect the killers from justice and subsequent BNP government later ratified it as Indemnity Act in 1979.
August 14, 1996: Three killers Syed Farooq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan and former state minister Taheruddin Thakur are arrested.
October 2, 1996: Then resident personal assistant (PA) to president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, AFM Mohitul Islam files the first information report (FIR) with Dhanmondi Police Station in connection with the August 15, 1975, carnage.
October 3, 1996: The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) takes up the case and launches investigation into the Bangabandhu murder case.
November 14, 1996: The parliament scraps the Indemnity Act paving the way to bring the killers to justice.
January 15, 1997: The CID submits the charge sheet, accusing 20 people, before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court.
March 1, 1997: The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Dhaka sends the case to Dhaka District and Sessions' Judge's Court for trial on completion of legal formalities.
March 12, 1997: Trial of the case starts as six arrested accused appear in court.
March 20, 1997: The government appoints 14 lawyers to defend 14 accused who went into hiding abroad after the Awami League government assumed power in 1996.
April 6, 1997: The trial court hears charges against the accused.
April 7, 1997: The trial court frames charges indicting the 20 accused.
April 21, 1997: The trial adjourns on the first day of hearing as fugitive Khandaker Abdur Rashid's wife Zobaida Rashid moved a "no- confidence" motion at the High Court against the trial judge.
April 29, 1997: Trial resumes after the HC rejects Zobaida's petition.
April 29, 1997: Trial adjourns immediately after resumption as a defence counsel challenges at the HC the setting up of the trial court near Dhaka Central Jail.
April 30, 1997: The HC rejects the petition challenging the changing of venue of the trial court.
May 4, 1997: The HC suspends trial for one month on a time petition filed by Zobaida Rashid saying she needed more time to settle an appeal to overturn her indictment.
June 19, 1997: The trial resumes but is immediately postponed again for the third time as Zobaida moves a petition against her indictment at the HC.
July 6, 1997: The trial starts with 19 accused as the HC relieves Zobaida of charges of plotting the Bangabandhu murder.
July 6, 1997: Prime witness Mohitul Islam testifies before the court.
March 2, 1998: The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court rejects the appeal against the scrapping of the Indemnity Act after a 15-day hearing, removing the last barrier to trying the killers.
July 9, 1998: Bangladesh and Thailand sign extradition treaty to bring back fugitive sacked Major Bazlul Huda, one of the two men who allegedly shot Bangabandhu.
July 21, 1998: Hearing of the last of the 61 prosecution witnesses out of listed 74 ends with the cross-examination of the case's investigation officer Abdul Kahhar Akhand.
August 5, 1998: The accused claim innocence as the testimony of witnesses ends.
August 12, 1998: Arguments between prosecution and defence lawyers starts with the statement of chief prosecutions counsel Serajul Huq.
October 13, 1998: The 17-month trial process ends on the 146th day of hearing with closing arguments.
November 8, 1998: District and Sessions Judge of Dhaka Kazi Golam Rasul hands down death penalties to 15 ex-army officers, and convicted killer Bazlul Huda is flown back by an air force jet from a Thai jail.
August 24, 2000: The hearing of the death references and appeals of this case begins at the HC.
December 14, 2000: An HC bench delivered split judgments after 28 days of hearing. Justice Md Ruhul Amin (then senior judge of the bench) upheld death penalties of 10 of the 15, and Justice ABM Khairul Haque (then junior judge) confirmed capital punishment for all 15.
February 12, 2001: The concurrent death reference and appeal hearing begins with another HC bench as the split judgment required the case to be referred to a third judge in a second bench.
April 30, 2001: Third judge Justice Mohammad Fazlul Karim confirmed death sentences of 12 of the accused after 25 days of hearing.
June 18, 2007: The United States returned absconding convict AKM Mohiuddin to be brought to justice.
September 23, 2007: Condoning the delay in filing the petitions by AKM Mohiuddin, a three-member Appellate Division bench granted the leave to appeal prayers filed by five detained convicts and asked them to file regular appeal.
February 17, 2009: Released on bail, Taheruddin Thakur dies.
August 23, 2009: Chief state counsel of the case Anisul Huq submitted "concise statement" to the Supreme Court as required for the final appeal hearing.
August 24, 2009: The Appellate Division fixed October 5, 2009, for the start of the appeal hearing.
October 4, 2009: Then chief justice MM Ruhul Amin constitutes a five- member bench at the apex court comprised of Justice Md Tafazzul Islam, Justice Md Abdul Aziz, Justice BK Das, Justice Md Muzammel Hossain and Justice SK Sinha for the appeal hearing.
October 5, 2009: The bench headed by Justice Tafazzul Islam starts the hearing on the appeals.
November 12, 2009: Appeal hearing ends after 29 days of hearing.
November 19, 2009: The apex court pronounce the verdict confirming death sentence of 12 convicts handed down by the trial court and upheld by the HC.
January 9, 2010: Three detained convicts--Bazlul Huda, AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed and Mohiuddin--seek presidential mercy through jail authorities.
January 10, 2010: Bazlul Huda and AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed files review petitions with the SC against the verdict.
January 12, 2010: Convict Sultan Shariar Rashid Khan files similar review petition.
January 13, 2010: The chamber judge of the Appellate Division fixes January 24, 2010, for hearing the review petitions.
January 24, 2010: A four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Tafazzul Islam starts hearing the review petitions.
January 27, 2010: The SC dismisses the review petitions, clearing the way for executing the five detained killers.
January 28, 2010: The five death inmates on death row are executed.

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