The brother of Col Abu Taher has called for a judicial investigation into the ‘killings’ that took place during the regime of former military ruler Gen Ziaur Rahman.
Prof M Anwar Hossain, younger brother Col Taher who was executed in 1976 by a military tribunal during Zia’s rule, made the demand on Monday.
His call came hours after the High Court published its full verdict on the execution, declaring it illegal.
High Court bench of justices AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury and Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain had delivered the judgement on Mar 22, 2011. The full verdict was published after the judges signed it.
In the summary verdict, the court had said execution of Taher, one of the Sector Commanders during the Liberation War, was a ‘cold-blooded murder’ given the nature of the trial conducted as per Ziaur Rahman's plan.
Satisfied with the High Court verdict, Prof Hossain, the Jahangirnagar University Vice Chancellor, told bdnews24.com that the government could constitute a high-powered judicial commission to investigate the ‘killings’ during Zia’s regime.
“The dark history can be exposed through the commission. This verdict can play an important role there.”
Taher’s wife Lutfa Taher also was also happy about the High Court verdict.
Prof Hossain, who was also sentenced to jail by the military court, said: “Every member of our family is freedom fighter. They’ve won a country through war. Ziaur Rahman killed them in that very country.”
He said: “Thousands of killings took
place during Zia’s rule. Nobody knows that. Many were killed inside the jail.
Bodies of many people killed by Zia were not found.”
The court had
ordered Taher be ‘considered a martyr’ and a murder case be filed against the
judge of the military tribunal, who had ordered his hanging.
It had also
ordered the government to probe whether Zia had any connection with the murder
of independence architect Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Hossain termed the publication of the full verdict ‘the greatest day’ of their
“Many killings, including that of Bangabandhu and his family on
Aug 15, 1975, during and after Zia’s regime are covered in
“People don’t know the history of that time. Many painful
incidents happened. But those are covered in darkness. The verdict has created
the chance to reveal the truth.”
Bangladesh saw a spell of military
uprising and counter-uprising after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
and his family members on Aug 15, 1975.
On Nov 7, 1975, Taher
orchestrated a socialist uprising amongst the soldiers and freed the then army
chief Ziaur Rahman from house arrest. He also fuelled Zia's consolidation of
power as Deputy Chief Martial Law Administrator.
However, Taher was
arrested only 17 days after the takeover. A total of 33 people, including him,
were tried in a secret court martial.
Of them 16 were released, while 17
were handed down a variety of sentences. The tribunal had sentenced to death two
Sector Commanders, Taher and Maj MA Jalil, and Taher’s brother Abu
Verdicts of Jalil and Yusuf were later reduced to life sentences
for their ‘special contribution’ during the Liberation War.
after the military court order, Taher was hanged on July 21, 1976.
Taher, Anwar Hossain, and Flight Sergeant Abu Yusuf Khan’s wife jointly filed a
petition on Aug 23, 2010challenging the legality of the court martial.