Bangladesh overturns verdict against officers in prison massacre

August 29th, 2008 - 6:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Aug 29 (DPA) Bangladesh’s opposition Awami League protested a High Court decision to overturn guilty verdicts against six former army officers accused of killing captive political leaders, news reports said Friday.On Thursday, two officers handed death sentences in 2004 were cleared of charges involving their role in a prison massacre in 1975, in which four top leaders of the opposition Awami League were gunned down in their cells, while four officers serving life sentences were also acquitted.

The killings took place shortly after a coup in which the country’s first president Sheikh Mujib ur Rahman was killed along with most of his family.

The High Court said the police had failed to produce adequate evidence against the men.

In 2004, following a 1996 murder suit filed by then prime minister Sheikh Hasina, Mujib’s daughter, a court convicted three officers to death and 12 to life in prison.

A spokesman for Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League said the party was “disappointed” over the acquittal of their leaders’ murderers.

The High Court however confirmed the death sentence against non-commissioned officer Moslem Uddin Ahmad for his role in the brutal killings of Nov 3, 1975 inside the Dhaka Central Jail, court sources said.

Four of the acquitted officers were already sentenced to death for leading the coup against Sheikh Mujib.

The prosecution said it planned to appeal the verdict.

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