The members of Taher Sangsad yesterday demanded trial of the 'killers' of Colonel Abu Taher, Bir Uttam, who was a sector commander during the nation's war of liberation in 1971.
They also demanded that the secret documents relating to the 'farcical' trial of Col Taher be made public.
The members made the demands yesterday while addressing a seminar titled "What is the impediment towards the trial of the killers of Colonel Taher?"Taher was hanged on July 21, 1976 following a military tribunal, which found him 'guilty of activities subversive of the state' on July 17 the same year. The five-men tribunal was composed of three officials from the defence services and two magistrates.
Present Chief Justice of the Bangladesh Supreme Court, A T M Afzal, acted as the Public Prosecutor in the case.
Sharif Nurul Ambia, a leader of the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) and co-accused with Col. Taher, Abed Khan, a freelance journalist and Dr Mustaque Hossain, an office bearer of the Sangsad, addressed the seminar, while Prof Anwar Hossain chaired the session held at the Teachers-Students Centre (TSC) of Dhaka University.
Abed Khan said that the trial of Taher was a farce. "The verdict of the case was prepared much before the trial began," he said adding that, "a coalition between Ziaur Rahman and some army officials who did not take part in the war of independence was behind the hanging of Taher."Expressing his 'reservation' about the JSD politics of that time, Abed Khan said that Taher was a big patriot with utmost respect for the nation's war of independence. "He had to die for his patriotism, sincerity and bravery."Sharif Nurul Ambia, a co-accused in the case who was later acquitted by the tribunal, said Taher wanted the people of the country to be the real policy-makers of the state, and he used to dream of a pro-people army befitting to a newly independent state.
Ambia informed the seminar that the advocates who pleaded for Taher and others had to take oath that they would never disclose the proceedings of the military trial. He said that the country is now experiencing democratic rule and demanded that the documents relating to the secret trail be made public.
Demanding the trial of the killers, Dr Mustaque Ahmed informed the audience that the tribunal gave Taher the death sentence, although the then Public Prosecutor had not demanded capital punishment. "Even the members of the tribunal were divided over the death sentence," he said.
Moreover, the speakers unanimously observed that there was no legal bar to trying the killers of Col Abu Taher.