Street clashes: Murder charges against Hasina dropped

A Bangladesh court on Monday dropped murder charges against Premier Sheikh Hasina.

Dhaka: A Bangladesh court on Monday dropped
murder charges against Premier Sheikh Hasina, filed during the
tenure of the previous army-backed interim government in
connection with the violent political street protests here
that killed seven people in October 2006.

Metropolitan Magistrate Dilara Alo Chandana ordered the
withdrawal of the murder case against Hasina and 45 others,
granting a government petition that said it was filed with a
"political motive," officials and lawyers said.

The Home Ministry petition said the First Information
report did not name Hasina as an accused, but she was indicted
as the police submitted the chargesheet six months later,
while she was abroad on a tour.

She was arrested under the emergency rule on her return
home and was also charged in nearly a dozen graft cases by the
them interim administration, which also detained her archrival
Khaleda Zia of BNP on identical graft charges.

They, however, were released apparently under an
understanding with the interim government of Fakhruddin Ahmed
ahead of the landmark December 29, 2008 general elections that
brought Hasina`s Awami League to power with three-fourths

The withdrawal of the murder charges over the October
2006 Purana Paltan violence was the latest of several cases
against Hasina, which were lifted after a review by a
high-power government committee in the past several months.

Police on April 11, 2007 charged Hasina and
fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Motiur Rahman Nizami
in two counter cases for murder of seven people in the 2006
clashes in line with two cases filed by JI and left-leaning
Workers Party, an Awami League ally.

During the day-long clashes between rivals on that day at
least seven people were killed at downtown Purana Paltan area
while Jamaat, a crucial partner in the past BNP-led four party
regime, claimed that five of them were its activists while
Workers Party said one of the victims belonged to their group.

Police were widely blamed for standing as "silent
spectators" during the clashes that were followed by
heightened political tension in the country ahead of planned
general elections.

Awami League of Hasina, 61, had vowed to resist the poll,
saying it was set to be rigged through manipulation and ghost
voters while the growing political uncertainty eventually
prompted the military intervention.

The army forced Ahmed to declare the state of emergency
on January 11, 2007.

Bureau Report