Bangabandhu Murder Case: Journey, Accomplishments, and Remaining Challenges

On August 19, 2017, Centre for Research and Information (CRI) organsied the seminar “Bangabandhu Murder Case: Journey, Accomplishments, and Remaining Challenges” at the auditorium hall in the Bangabandhu Trust Memorial premises. This event being held on the National Mourning Day aimed to pay homage, respect and tribute to Bangabandhu and other victims of that darkest of nights. The half-day academic seminar had opened floors for discussions and offered insights to one of the most important and landmark decisions of our legal history, the Bangabandhu Murder Case.

Speakers in the seminar included prosecutors and investigators of the case, legal academics and senior journalists. The audience consisted of around 70 students from higher educational institutions and young professionals, mostly from the legal sector.

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The panelists and their respective topics of discussion were as following:

Keynote Speaker
– Mr. Anisul Huq MP, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh (Chief Prosecutor of Bangabandhu Murder Case)
Topic: Journey for Justice and Experiences of Prosecuting the 15th August Tragedy

Panelists
– Mr. Abdul Kahar Akhand, Chief Investigator of Bangabandhu Murder Case
Topic: Experiences of Investigating a Historical Tragedy
– Professor Dr. AAMS Arefin Siddique, Honorable Vice Chancellor, Dhaka University
Topic: International and National Conspiracy for Impunity
– Swadesh Roy, Executive Editor, Daily Janakantha
Topic: Role of Media in Ensuring Justice for 15th August Tragedy: Past and Future
– Fazilatunnesa Bappy, Member of Bangladesh Parliament, Prosecutor of Bangabandhu Murder Case
Topic: Indemnity Ordinance and Political Beneficiaries of 15th August Tragedy
– Dr. Delwar Hossain, Professor and Former Chairman Dept. of International Relations University of Dhaka, Chairman, Centre for Genocide Studies
Topic: Role of Diplomacy in Bringing Back the Killers of Bangabandhu.

Moderator
Dr. Mizanur Rahman, Professor, Department of Law, University of Dhaka, and former Chairman, National Human Rights Commission Bangladesh
On August 15, 1975, Bangabandhu was assassinated along with most of his family members at his home by some misguided army officers. After the brutal murder, the then Khondker Mushtaque Ahmed-led government promulgated the infamous indemnity ordinance on September 26, 1975 to protect the killers from justice. The then BNP government, led by President Ziaur Rahman, ratified the ordinance in the Parliament in 1979. Twelve army officers involved in the assassination were given jobs in diplomatic missions abroad in 1977 when Ziaur Rahman came to power through a military coup.

The session concluded with a question and answer session from the audience and a speech from CRI trustee Radwan Mujib Siddiq, grandson of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

He told the audience how was astounded as a kindergarten student during 1986 when he first came to know that the killers of his grandfather were protected by a law. “I was surprised to know the indemnity law . . . how this can be a law?” said Siddiq. He expressed how annoyed he was as a child, when he learned he had to change schools when the Bangabandhu killers’ children started attending the same school. He asked his mother why he had to change school. It was then that he first found out about the indemnity ordinance.

“Our family never hides history from us. So we were briefed about the brutality,” he said, recalling that the kids of his age then did not know anything about Bangabandhu.  He could not even speak about his grandfather in the school for security reasons.

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