Sunday, August 25, 2019 | ePaper
Attack on Hasina's train
43 convicts file appeals with HC
Forty-three convicts on Sunday filed three separate appeals with the High Court (HC) seeking acquittal of the charges in the case over the attack on a train carrying the then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina in Pabna's Ishwardi upazila 25 years ago.
Among the convicted appellants, who are now in jail, eight were sentenced to death, 22 were sentenced to life imprisonment and 13 were sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment by the lower court concerned, their lawyer Barrister Kayser Kamal told reporters.
Citing from the appeal petitions, the lawyer said, the verdict delivered by the lower court is politically motivated as the accused are local BNP leaders and activists.
The judge concerned of the trial court did not take the defence evidence into account and entire judgment relied on the statements of 12 interested prosecution witnesses who are the former Awami League ministers, and local lawmakers and activists, Barrister Kayser Kamal said.
He also said the independent witness did not support the statements made by the interested prosecution witnesses.
The defence lawyer said the HC will hold hearing the appeals in due time.
On July 3 this year, a Pabna court convicted and sentenced 47 people in the case filed under the Explosives Substances Act, 1908. The court sentenced nine people to death, life imprisonment to 25, and 10 years rigorous imprisonment to 13 others.
Among them, eight death convicts, 22 life imprisonment convicts and 13 others who were sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment filed the appeal.
All the convicts are leaders and activists of local BNP and its front organizations, Jahirul Islam, Office Secretary of Pabna District BNP, told reporters.
On September 23, 1994, Sheikh Hasina, now the Prime Minister, was travelling from Khulna to Saidpur by train and addressed several rallies at different railway stations on the way.
As the train reached Paksey Rail Station in Ishwardi, it came under attack. Crude bombs were hurled and shots fired. Many were injured while the AL President was unhurt.
Following the attack, Nazrul Islam, the then Officer-in-Charge of Ishwardi General Railway Police Station, filed a case against five members of the BNP and its associate bodies.
Police reinvestigate the case in 1996 after Awami League came into the power. After reinvestigation, a total of 52 activists of local BNP, Jubo Dal and Chhatra Dal were made accused in the case.