Dhaka: Bangladesh High Court on Monday
ordered submission of documents of a controversial court
martial of a 1971 Liberation War veteran and army colonel was
hanged after a secret trial in a military court.
"The High Court on Monday asked the government to submit
the trial documents as well as demanded an explanation in
three weeks why the judgement passed by the special martial
law tribunal convicting 17 persons including colonel Abu Taher
should not be declared void, illegal and ultra vires to the
Constitution," a court official said.
Colonel Taher, 1971 Liberation War sector commander,
was hanged while 16 others, some belonging left leaning Jatiya
samajtantrik Dal (JSD), currently an ally of the ruling Awami
League of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, were jailed for
different terms, on a sedition case after a secret trial in
Taher, a recipient of prestigious gallantry award
Bir Uttam for his remarkable role during the 1971 war, was the
first person to be hanged in jail in independent Bangladesh
after the camera trial during the martial law regime of slain
president general Ziaur Rahman.
A two-judge bench comprising judges AHM Shamsuddin
Chowdhury and Sheikh Mohammad Zakir Hossain issued the rule as
Taher`s wife Lutfa Taher, his brother Anwar Hossain and
several other relatives jointly filed a writ petition.
Hossain, currently a professor of premier Dhaka
University, himself was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment
for "plotting against the government".
They petition was filed a month after the apex
Appellate Division of the Supreme Court declared suggesting
"suitable punishment" to perpetrators of martial laws
declaring "illegal" the 5th amendment to the constitution that
had endorsed the `extra constitutional adventure` or military
The petitioners claimed that there is no provision
for secret trial in the constitution. As per the constitution
all trials have to be done in the open court so that
fundamental rights of the accused can be upheld.
After the Taher`s trial, the chief prosecution
lawyer of the military court ATM Afzal said, the court verdict
handing down Taher the capital punishment had surprised him as
he never demanded the death penalty for the charge.
"Colonel Taher and others were sentenced in a secret
military trial on July 17, 1976 and he was hanged only in four
days after the verdict (defying the jail code that suggests at
least 21 days) on the dawn of July 21," Malik said.
He added: "No appeal against the verdict was allowed
in 1976 under the military rule order; no record of the trial
was received. It was a medieval trial."