Dhaka – Nine persons have been sentenced to death and 25 others to life in jail for carrying out an attack on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, more than two decades ago when she was in opposition.
A court in western Pabna district passed the verdict in the case filed over the attack on a train carrying the then opposition leader during a political march in September 23, 1994, convicting and sentencing 12 others to 10 years in jail.
Pronouncing the verdict, Additional District and Sessions Judge Rustom Ali, issued a warrant of arrest for the fugitives in the case as 30 out of 52 defendants were present on the dock, a prosecution lawyer said.
Investigators pressed charges against 52 persons, all local leaders and activists of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
Many activists of the Awami League party were wounded after gunshots were fired and crude bombs exploded targeting the train carrying Sheikh Hasina during her nation-wide anti-government campaign.
Hasina, also the chief of Awami League, survived the attack, which was carried out at the Pakshy Railway Station in Panba district, nearly 200 kilometers west of the capital Dhaka.
She was conducting campaign against the then government of Khaleda Zia to protest corruption, inefficiency and electoral fraud. Hasina is the Prime Minister now, and Khaleda is in jail over corruption charges.
Despite the Railway police filed a case against 135 people in connection with the attacks, the investigation into the incident found no headway until Khlaeda Zia was in office. A report was submitted to the court, but the court asked the police to investigate further.
Investigators later in April 1997, nearly 10 months after Hasina assumed office in June 1996, pressed charged against 52 people for carrying out the attack apparently with an intention to kill the opposition leader.