Dhaka: The appeal hearing in the murder trial of Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in which 12 ex-Army officers were sentenced to death, will resume "soon" as the prosecution is set to pursue the case that has been pending with the apex court for long.
"I will submit a `concise report` of the case to the Appellate Division (of the Supreme Court) next week along with a petition seeking expeditious hearing of the case in line with my client`s instruction," chief prosecution counsel Anisul Haque said.
He, however, declined to comment how long it might take to dispose of the case, pending with the apex court since a High Court bench in 2001 confirmed the death sentence of 12 former Army officers for the August 15, 1975 assassination.
Haque`s comments came as Bangladesh is to observe the 34th National Mourning Day recalling the carnage, when the country`s post-independence Awami League government was also toppled in the military putsch carried out by a group of junior Army officers.
Sheikh Mujib, the father of incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was killed along with most of his family members. Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana survived the coup as they were abroad at that time.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam yesterday told a function that the case was expected to resume shortly but the prosecution lawyers would now have to launch the process by fulfilling the "necessary formalities".
The delayed trial process began in 1996 when Awami League returned to power after 21 years in political wilderness and scrapped an infamous indemnity law which until then protected the killers while the subsequent post-1975 governments awarded several of them with diplomatic assignments abroad.
The Dhaka District and Sessions Judge`s Court on November 8, 1998, awarded death penalty to 15 sacked military officers in the case. Later in 2001, a High Court bench upheld the death sentence of 12.
The High Court in 2001 stayed the sentence on appeals by convicts who faced the trial in person and the sentence remained suspended during the subsequent Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-regime of ex-premier Khaleda Zia.
During the past emergency rule under the military-backed interim government, the Appellate Division in 2007 granted leave to appeal of five of the convicts, who are in jail now.
But the appeal hearing could not start for want of required number of senior judges as several of the apex court judges were involved in the trial process as High Court judges earlier.