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Hearings start on Aug 21 grenade attack PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Proceedings began in court Tuesday against those accused of killing 23 people and injuring 300 in a grenade attack on an Awami League rally on August 21, 2004, reports bdnews24.com.

Dhaka metropolitan additional sessions judge KM Rasheduzzaman Raja fixed August 3 for the next hearing in the case.
 
Abdus Salam Pintu, deputy minister for education during the BNP-led alliance government and one of the accused in the case, was taken to the court from Narayanganj jail at around 11.30am.
 
Harkatul Jihad leaders Mufti Abdul Hannan, Mufti Moinuddin Sheikh (also known as Abu Jandal) and Maulana Abu Taher were also among the 14 accused produced in court Tuesday from different jails in the country.
 
Lawyers sought bail for Pintu and five other accused, while Mufti Hannan sought permission to withdraw a confessional statement given under section 164, claiming it was extracted by force.
 
Seeking Pintu's bail, advocate Mohammad Ali told the court the allegations against his client were baseless and fabricated.
 
"Pintu was arrested four years after the incident occurred. Till then Pintu's name was never in any way mentioned as being involved. He is a victim of conspiracy."
 
Advocate Mohammad Ali further claimed that his client's name was extracted from Mufti Hannan in a statement under section 164 through torture "to create enmity between the Awami League and BNP".
 
Pintu himself addressing the court, seeking bail, said: "I have always lived an honest life. If I am given bail I will not flee. I will make court appearances regularly."
 
"I was taken into police custody 3 to 4 days before arrest in this case. The police interrogated me and then released me. If I was guilty I would have absconded," Pintu said.
 
"I tell the court in unambiguous terms that Jandal, Taher, Mufti Hannan never came to my house before the incident."
 
Before the Pintu's bail plea, a controversy arose over Pintu's standing in the dock. Pintu's lawyers said it was not a 'dock' but a 'cage' and no respectable person could be expected to stand there.
 
The public prosecutor replied: "He was a minister. He is a respectable man, we know it. But all are equal in the eyes of the law."
 
The judge also said: "The accused is an educated person. If he stands in the dock his honour will not diminish, rather it will increase."
 
But Pintu did not stand in the dock and the judge let the matter pass.

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