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POST TIME: 22 July, 2019 00:00 00 AM
1994 Ishwardi attack on Hasina
3 appeals filed against lower court verdict
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka

3 appeals filed against lower court verdict

Three separate appeals have been filed by 43 convicts with the High Court (HC) seeking acquittal of the charges in the case of the attack on a train carrying the then Opposition leader Sheikh Hasina in Pabna’s Ishwardi 25 years ago. Barrister Kayseer Kamal, counsel for the appellants, told reporters that they have filed three separate appeal petitions with the related branch of the HC against the lower court verdict that had awarded nine people death, 25 life imprisonment, and 13 others 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment in the case filed under the Explosives Substances Act, 1908.

Among the convicted appellants, who are now in jail, eight were sentenced to death, 22 were sentenced to life imprisonment and 13 were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment by the lower court concerned, he added.

In response to a query, the lawyer said the verdict delivered by the lower court is politically motivated as the accused are all local Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leaders and activists.

The lower court had only recorded 12 witnesses’ statements out of 54 and all 12 witnesses were the former Awami League MPs and local top leader. No independent witness statements were recorded and the court delivered the verdict soon after completion of the witness statements in order to make a group of people happy, he added.

“We hope the High Court will ensure justice for the appellants as they were deprived of getting justice from the lower court in the case,” he added.

On July 3 this year, a Pabna court convicted and sentenced nine people to death and awarded life imprisonment to 25 and 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment to 13 others, in the case filed under the Explosives Substances Act, 1908.

All the convicts are leaders and activists of the local BNP unit and its front organisations, Jahirul Islam, the office secretary of the Pabna district unit of the BNP, told The Independent.

On September 23, 1994, Sheikh Hasina, now the Prime Minister, was travelling from Khulna to Saidpur by train and addressed several rallies at different railway stations on the way.

As the train reached Paksey station in Ishwardi, it came under attack. Crude bombs were hurled and shots fired. The attack continued till the train reached Ishwardi station.