Dhaka court reopens trial, hanging of 1971 war hero

August 24th, 2010 - 7:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Aug 24 (IANS) The high court in Bangladesh has reopened the case of a 1971 war hero who was tried and hanged after he fell out with the then military strongman Ziaur Rahman, husband of opposition leader Khaleda Zia.

The court directed the government to produce records of the trial under martial law regulations that saw Colonel Abu Taher condemned to death in 1976.

Taher, who was a Pakistan Army officer, escaped from the then west Pakistan and joined the freedom movement.

His left leg was blown up and he recovered in an Indian hospital before rejoining as an officer with the highest gallantry award in the Bangladesh Army.

Taher was an ally of Ziaur Rahman, who became the army chief after the military-led putsch in which the founding leader and president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated.

During 1975-81, Bangladesh witnessed a series of coups and in-fighting within the army. At some stage, Taher fell out with Ziaur Rahman who, as the country’s president, was himself killed in one of them in 1981.

The court Monday asked the government to explain why Martial Law Regulation No.16 of 1976, under which Taher was tried for sedition and executed 34 years back, should not be declared illegal and unconstitutional.

The order came in response to a writ petition filed by Taher’s wife Lutfa and brother Anwar Hossain.

They complained that no details of the trial were ever furnished by the then martial law authorities.

The trial, that hit international headlines, was recorded in detail by American journalist, Lawrence Lifschultz, in his book “Bangladesh: An Unfinished Revolution”.

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