Chronology of the trial

Print edition : November 21, 1998
HAROON HABIB

June 23, 1996: The Awami League returns to power 21 years after the assassination on August 15, 1975 of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who headed the first Awami League Government.

August 14, 1996: The police arrest three of the prime accused - Lt. Col. Syed Farooq Rehman, Lt. Col. Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan and former Information Minister Taheruddin Thakur - from Dhaka.

October 2, 1996: Mujibur Rah-man's personal assistant A.F.M. Mohitul Islam lodges a first information report (FIR) with the Dhanmondi police station in Dhaka in connection with the 1975 massacre.

October 3, 1996: The CID launches an investigation.

November 12, 1996: Parliament scraps the Indemnity Act that barred the trial of those suspected of involvement in Mujibur Rahman's assassination.

January 15, 1997: The CID files charge-sheets against 20 people before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Dhaka, and names 74 prosecution witnesses.

March 1, 1997: The CMM, Dhaka, sends the case to the District and Sessions Court for trial.

March 12, 1997: Trial begins; the six accused who were arrested appear in court.

March 20, 1997: The Government appoints 14 leading lawyers to defend the 14 accused persons who are absconding; their trial is eventually held in absentia.

April 7, 1997: The court indicts the accused after hearing the charges.

April 21, 1997: Trial adjourned on the very first day of hearing after a defence lawyer brings a "no-confidence" motion against the Judge.

April 29, 1997: Trial resumes after the High Court rejects the motion.

April 29, 1997: Trial adjourned for a second time after another defence lawyer raises objections against the choice of the court venue - near the Dhaka Central Jail.

April 30, 1997: The High Court overrules the objection.

May 4, 1997: The High Court orders suspension of the trial for one month to hear a petition challenging the indictment of one of the accused, Zobaida Rashid, wife of a principal absconding accused, Lt. Col. Khandaker Abdur Rashid.

June 19, 1997: Trial postponed for a third time as Zobaida Rashid's lawyer says that the petition challenging her indictment remains pending with the High Court.

July 6, 1997: Trial starts with 19 accused after Zobaida Rashid was exonerated of the charges.

March 2, 1998: The Supreme Court rejects appeal against the deletion of the Indemnity Act, thus removing the last hurdle to the trial.

July 9, 1998: Bangladesh and Thailand sign an extradition treaty, enabling the extradition of Major Bazlul Huda, one of the accused, to Bangladesh. Major Huda and Noor Chowdhury were the persons who allegedly shot Mujibur Rahman.

July 21, 1998: Hearing of the 61 prosecution witnesses (out of 74) ends with the cross-examination of the investigation officer, Abdul Kahar Akand.

August 5, 1998: The five accused who were tried in person plead not-guilty as testimony of the witnesses ends.

August 12, 1998: Arguments begin.

October 13, 1998: Arguments end and Judge Kazi Golam Rasul sets November 8, 1998 for the delivery of his judgment.

November 8, 1998: The judgment is delivered.

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