Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Convicted in 2, accused in dozen

Julfikar Ali Manik
Infamous Islamist militant leader Mufti Abdul Hannan, who was awarded death sentence yesterday in a killing case linked to the grenade attack on British High Commissioner, stands accused in over two dozen more cases.
With the latest verdict, Hannan has been convicted in two cases. He was handed down life term in an arms case in Gopalganj in 2003.
Earlier, death sentence was awarded to seven leaders of banned Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). Of the convicted, six including militant kingpin Abdur Rahman and Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai were executed last year.
Hannan, operation commander of outlawed Harkat-ul Jihad Al Islami Bangladesh, attempted to kill Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina several times even when she was prime minister.
Law-enforcement agency sources say proceedings in some cases against Hannan were slow during the four-party alliance rule as the government was reluctant to dispose of the cases.
Hannan also told a court the law enforcers were not supposed to arrest him as some influential ministers of the government had assured him that he would be exempted from the charge of the attempt on Hasina’s life.
Immediate after his arrest on October 1, 2005 he told newspersons at the Rab office in Dhaka that he was staying in Bangladesh after former home minister and then commerce minister Altaf Hossain Choudhury assured him of “no fear” in staying in the country.
“Editor of monthly Madina Moulana Mohiuddin played the mediator between me and the minister,” Hannan added.
“Soon after the alliance government assumed power, I submitted a mercy petition to the prime minister, the home minister and some other ministers. In reply they assured me that they will let me off,” Hannan told the court on October 2, 2005 in presence of a large number of lawyers, law enforcers and newspersons.
Meanwhile, former Criminal Investigation Department (CID) investigator Munshi Atiqur Rahman who submitted charge sheets in some cases against Hannan told The Daily Star yesterday he knew there was recommendation from ruling four-party alliance leaders to withdraw cases against Hannan.
Atique said although they tried for long to arrest Hannan the then BNP-Jamaat-led government was reluctant to hold him.
After the countrywide serial blasts in August 2005 by JMB, the then BNP-led government launched a drive against the militants and arrested Hannan in October besides netting top JMB men.
Investigators claimed they learned mysteries of many attacks from Hannan’s confessional statements in many cases. The militant leader was in police remand in 144 days in a row, the highest any accused was confined in such interrogation.
The sensational cases in which Hannan is accused include two cases linked to August 21 grenade attack, Udichi blast case in Jessore, two cases linked to blasts at Ramna Batamul , two cases in Kotalipara linked to assassination attempt on Hasina, two cases linked to recovery of explosives and arms from his den, a case linked to blast at Paltan rally of Communist Party of Bangladesh, two cases linked to attack on former British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury, two cases linked to two separate attacks on mayor of Sylhet Badruddin Ahmed Kamran, a case linked to attack at Baniachang Church in Gopalganj.
Hannan was also shown arrested in connection with many other cases following his confession.


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