August 21 grenade attack: HC starts hearing on death references, appeals
The High Court has started hearing on the death references and appeals of the August 21 grenade attack cases filed after the gruesome attack on an Awami League rally at Bangabandhu Avenue in Dhaka, leaving at least 24 people dead and 300 injured in 2004.
The then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina, now the prime minister of the country, narrowly escaped death in the incident which is now considered as one of the most sensational political crimes in the country's history.
The HC bench of Justice Shahidul Karim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman started hearing on the death references (trial court documents for confirmation of death) and appeals (filed by convicted accused) yesterday with Deputy Attorney General Bashir Ahmed, as state counsel, reading out from the first information reports and charge sheets of the cases.
Attorney General AM Amin Uddin was present before the bench during its proceedings yesterday.
The HC bench continued the hearing today and will resume the proceedings of the cases tomorrow morning, DAG Bashir Ahmed told The Daily Star.
Today, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin told reporters at his office that they need a few months for concluding hearing and disposing of the cases and arguments on the charges brought against all the convicts and accused may take place during the hearings.
Replying to a question, the attorney general said he did not find any appeal from BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment, in the cases at the HC.
A Dhaka court on October 10, 2018 sentenced 19 people, including former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar to death in the two cases filed in connection with the grenade attacks.
Nineteen others including BNP acting Chairman Tarique Rahman were given life imprisonment and 11 people were handed different terms in prison.
Eighteen of the convicted accused, including Tarique Rahman, who is in London, are absconding and 31 are in jail.
The case documents and judgment reach the HC as death reference as per section 374 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) from the lower court after the latter delivers the verdict for confirmation of death sentence in any case.
The death references of August 21 grenade attack cases reached the HC on November 27, 2018, for examination of the trial court's verdict.
On January 13, 2019, the HC accepted the appeals filed by the convicts for hearing. The same day, the HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim (now a judge of the Appellate Division) and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman also stayed parts of the trial court verdict that fined the convicts.