Dhaka, Nov 9 (bdnews24.com)—The Appellate Division has adjourned the hearing of a government appeal, for a re-trial of the jail killing case challenging the High Court verdict, until Dec 6.
A three-member bench, led by chief justice ABM Khairul Haque, started the second day of hearing around 9.30am and ended it around 11 pm, on Tuesday.
Attorney general Mahbubey Alam alleged that the case proceedings in court were manipulated and demanded a new trial of the case.
In response the court said that holding a new trial would mean sending the case back to the lower courts and overturning the previous verdicts by the lower court and the High Court. This would in turn cancel the sentences given before.
The chief prosecutor of the case, Anisul Haque, said, "A conspiracy was hatched at the Bangabhaban before the killing. Khandaker Moshtaque Ahmed conspired with other army officers."
"The trial was manipulated in the lower court which is why we did not get justice," he added.
The court, in return, asked the prosecutor to prove his claims with evidence from the case records.
Anisul Haque responded, "I resigned my responsibilities as the chief prosecutor. The resignation letter contains my reasons in detail."
The court asked Anisul Haque to discuss with the attorney general and come to a decision sating that "no special order can be given without the court being satisfied."
It adjourned the court until Dec 6 and verbally asked the prosecution to have the records, supporting their claims, at hand for the hearing.
On Sunday, attorney general Mahbubey Alam told the court, "Though a trial was held earlier, it was not a fair one. The conspiracy behind the killing was hatched at the Bangabhaban. A re-trial is needed to dig out the masterminds behind the killing. This is why we want a re-trial."
"The case involves charges of conspiracy, participation and assisting in the murder. However, the trial at the lower court only addressed the latter two charges. No trial for conspiracy was held. Shah Moazzem Hossain, Nurul Islam Manzur and Khairuzzaman were involved in the conspiracy," he alleged.
Alam urged the court to send the case for re-trial to the lower court.
The chief prosecutor of the jail killing case, Anisul Haque, said, "The accused were in influential positions when the trial was held at the lower court, and it affected the trial."
He added, "We petitioned to halt the proceedings, fearing that the trial would be manipulated. But it was not accepted. We then appealed to the High Court on the same matter and were turned down."
Defence lawyer Abdullah Al Noman said, "My clients Bazlul Huda and AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed have already been hanged in the Bangabandhu murder case."
The Appellate Division agreed to hear the initial appeal following the request of deputy attorney general Mostafa Zaman Islam.
Anisul Haque told bdnews24.com on November 4, "The hearing for leave to appeal will begin. We are preparing for that."
Some of the accused in the jail killing case had already been hanged in the Bangabandhu murder case. Anisul Haque, however, said he believed that it had not reduced the importance of the case.
"The importance of the jail killing case is different as the four national leaders were slain when they were in government custody in jail."
The four leaders of the wartime national government—acting president Syed Nazrul Islam, prime minister Tajuddin Ahmed and cabinet ministers M Mansur Ali and AHM Qamruzzaman—were brutally killed inside Dhaka Central Jail on November 3, 1975.
The Awami League government had revived the trial of the jail killings case after it came to power in 1996.
But the trial went through some hiccups and the High Court, on October 20, 2004, during the tenure of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government, handed down a verdict sentencing 15 of the 20 accused.