Haroon Habib

DHAKA: The Supreme Court of Bangladesh has upheld the High Court verdict confirming death sentences for 12 former military officers in the assassination of Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.

A five-member bench dismissed the appeals filed by five of the convicts in the “Bangabandhu Murder Case” on Thursday.

The five convicts — sacked Lieutenant-Colonel Syed Farooq-ur Rahman and Lieutenant-Colonel Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Lieutenant-Colonel Muhiuddin Ahmed, Lieutenant-Colonel A.K.M. Mohiuddin Ahmed and Major Bazlul Huda (all retired) — who are now behind bars filed the appeals with the apex court in October 2007 against their conviction by the lower court. The judgment, which comes 34 years after the assassination, also confirmed the death sentences of absconding killers Colonel Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Major Shariful Haque Dalim, Lieutenant-Colonel A.M. Rashed Chowdhury, Lieutenant-Colonel SHMB Noor Chowdhury, Captain Abdul Mazed, and Risaldar Moslemuddin (all retired). They are understood to be hiding abroad, including the United States, Libya and Pakistan.

“The nation has got the justice,” said chief state counsel Anisul Haq. Counsel for the convicts Abdullah Al Mamun said they would submit a review petition with the Supreme Court within the stipulated 30 days after receiving the copy of the judgment. The apex court judges pronounced that the incidents of August 15, 1975 were a simple murder .

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the then President, his wife, three sons — one nine years old — and the wives of two sons were gunned down by a group of disgruntled army officers. Two daughters of Mujibur Rahman — Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana — survived the massacre as they were abroad.