The government has decided to appoint 15 state lawyers to defend Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Senior Vice Chairman Tarique Rahman and 14 other fugitives in their absence in connection with the August 21 grenade attack cases.
Meantime, a Dhaka court yesterday summoned Awami League leader and former state minister for planning Dr Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir to appear before it on March 28 to give his deposition about the attack.
The persons who will get state defence are Tarique Rahman, Abul Harris Chowdhury, former political secretary to BNP chief Khaleda Zia, BNP lawmaker Kazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad, Mohammad Hanif, owner of Hanif Paribahan, former deputy minister Abdul Salam Pintu's brothers and also Harkatul Jihad (Huji) leaders Maulana Tajuddin and Babu alias Ratul Babu.
Other fugitive accused are Huji leaders Mufti Shafiqur Rahman, Mufti Abdul Hai, Maulana Liton, Anisul Mursalin and his brother Mahibul Muttakin, Maulana Iqbal, Maulana Abu Bakar alias Selim Howlader, Jahangir Alam Badar and Khalilur Rahman.
All the accused were charged with conspiracy and approving the plan of attack executed by Huji men and their accomplices. They were also charged with grievous hurt, attempt to murder and murder.
The punishment of the offences is death penalty.
According to the provisions, if the punishment of a case filed against anyone is death penalty and if they are absconding, they must get a state defence lawyer in their absence.
Earlier, the court asked the Dhaka district magistrate to send a list of state defence lawyers who will defend Tarique and 14 others in their absence.
Sources say advocate Abul Kalam Mohammad Akhter Hossain is likely to defend Tarique Rahman, while advocate FM Ashraf-Ul Alam is likely to defend Abul Harris Chowdhury.
Names of other lawyers could not be known immediately.
Earlier on March 18, Judge Shahed Nuruddin of the Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 framed charges against Tarique and 29 others included in the supplementary charge sheets of the cases.
The same court also rejected a petition submitted by advocate Abdur Rezak Khan to be a lawyer to defend Tarique in his absence.
Tarique Rahman is now living in London, Harris in Iran and Tajuddin in Pakistan, but the whereabouts of others could not be known.
Referring to the previous indictment on October 29, 2008, the court said it would remain valid.
In 2008, the Criminal Investigation Department pressed charges against Pintu and 21 Huji men including militant kingpin Mufti Abdul Hannan.
On July 3 last year, names of 30 more people were included in the supplementary charge sheet.
(source: Yahoo News)