Dhaka: A specialised police unit overnight arrested one of the fugitive Bangabandhu Murder Trial convicts, former military captain Abdul Majed, who was on the run to escape hangman’s noose, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said.
“He has been arrested and has been sent to court for subsequent legal procedures,” Kamal told in brief comments confirming BSS about the development.
Later in a media briefing, he said “self confessed killer” was not only involved in Bangabandhu killing on August 15, 1975 at his house but also took part in the subsequent murders of four national leaders” in Dhaka Central Jail on November 3 the same year.
A police officer familiar with the incident said a team of their Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit arrested Majed in a predawn raid at Mirpur area acting on a tip off about his presence there.
“He was roaming around a shrine in Mirpur when policemen arrested him,” another official said.
Majed is one of the six absconding ex-army officers who were handed down capital punishment after trial in absentia.
A magistrate court, meanwhile, sent him to jail minutes after he was produced on the dock at Old Dhaka’s Court Complex while the handcuffed convict, put on a bulletproof police jacket and helmet as well, was wearing a white pajama and Panjabi.
“Majed was brought to the court at around 12.15pm . . . Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate AM Zulfikar Hayat passed his order at 12.55pm asking police to send him to jail,” a police officer told BSS at the scene.
Assistant public prosecutor Hemayet Uddin said Majed told the court that he was hiding in India and returned home recently.
But, he said, Majed was not allowed to give any statement as he wanted as “according to law a convict does not have any scope to say anything at this stage of legal procedure”.
Legal experts said a report on his arrest would now be sent to Dhaka District Judge’s court, which originally tried the killers, for subsequent legal procedures.
“The stipulated time for appealing against his death penalty expired long ago . . . apparently Majed now just can seek presidential mercy,” a Supreme Court lawyer said.
Twelve ex-military officers were sentenced to death for the August 15, 1975 killing of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members and five of them were executed by now while one died a natural death as he was on the run abroad.
The five were hanged at Dhaka Central Jail on January 28, 2010, after a protracted legal procedure while the delayed trial process began in 1996 when an infamous indemnity law was scrapped as it was protecting the assassins from justice until then.
They were sacked lieutenant colonels Syed Farooq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed and Mohiuddin Ahmed and sacked major Bazlul Huda while another convict, sacked colonel Rashed Pasha, died a natural death in Zimbabwe while he was on the run.
Farooq Rahman, Shahriar Rashid Khan, Mohiuddin Ahmed of artillery faced the trial in the judge court while Huda was extradited from Thailald and another Mohiuddin known as lancer Mohiuddin sent back from the United States after the then district judge Golam Rasul delivered the judgment.
Majed was one of the remaining fugitives believed to be hiding abroad with no confirmed whereabouts.
After the August 15, 1975 carnage, Majed was rehabilitated in civil service during the subsequent regime of Ziaur Rahman as an ex-cadre official and posted as the director of National Savings Department and later he was transferred to the finance ministry.
He fled the country along with most other 1975 coup plotters as the 1996 general elections brought Awami League back to power under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership which vowed to expose to justice Bangabandhu killers in line with its election manifesto.