30 charged over 2004 grenade attack in Bangladesh

08:51, July 04, 2011      

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Bangladeshi investigators on Sunday pressed charges against 30 people over grenade attack on rally of now ruling party Awami League in 2004, which killed 24 people in capital Dhaka.

The 30 people have been accused in a supplementary charge sheet submitted before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court of Dhaka after a 23-month reinvestigation into the attack.

Senior vice chairman of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Tarique Rahman, former State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar and Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat-e- Islami, the key ally of BNP, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid are among the 30 people.

Of the 30 named in the supplementary charge sheet, 12 are already in custody in connection with other cases while 18 including Tarique Rahman, son of BNP chairperson and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, remained out of reach.

Hours into investigators' pressing charges, a Dhaka court issued arrest warrants against the 18 people for their alleged link with the grenade attack.

Giving an immediate response, acting Secretary General of BNP Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday night at a media briefing announced a countrywide demonstration on Monday to protest indictment of party leaders in the grenade attack case.

About a dozen of grenades were exploded while President of the then opposition party Awami League and now Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was about to complete her speech at an anti-terrorism rally in front of the party's headquarters on Aug. 21, 2004.

Hasina narrowly survived in the attacks but her eyes and ear were injured. A total of 24 people including wife of current Bangladeshi President were killed and hundreds of others wounded in the attack.

The latest charge sheet brought the number of people charged over the attack to 52 as 22 militants belonging to the banned militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) were earlier accused in the first charge sheet submitted on June 22, 2008.

On Aug. 3, 2009, a Dhaka court ordered the investigators of Criminal Investigation Department of police to further investigate the grenade attack, as the earlier investigation had failed to reveal some key facts including sources of the grenades.

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