A court in Bangladesh has issued a death warrant against Abdul Majed for his involvement in the 1975 coup that led to the assassination of country's founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The former officer of the Bangladesh Army was arrested in Dhaka on April 7 and brought to the court from prison under heavy security.
The public prosecutor informed that the death warrant was issued by Dhaka's District and Sessions Judge with special permission from the Supreme Court. Majed was immediately sent to Kashimpur Central Jail situated on the outskirts of Dhaka and would await hanging since he has exhausted subsequent legal procedures under jail code.
Law Minister Anisul Huq said that Majed sentenced to death in 1998 and was asked to surrender to avail the constitutional right to appeal before the top court. According to media reports, Majed remained on the run to evade justice and exhausted his right to appeal against his death penalty and could only seek presidential mercy.
"The judge read out the charges and original judgment issued in 1998 in line with the legal procedures ahead of issuing the death warrant, meaning clearance for jail authorities to hang him," said public prosecutor Abdulah Abu.
Majed had publicly announced his involvement in the assassination after the killing and had reportedly been hiding in India for many years. It is still not clear how and when the former army officer returned to Bangladesh. Majed is one of a dozen defendants whose death sentences were upheld by the country’s Supreme Court in 2009.
After the assassination, subsequent governments and later President Ziaur Rahman shielded the accused by posting them mostly in Bangladesh’s diplomatic missions abroad. Rahman — an ex-army chief and the husband of former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, an archrival of Hasina — was killed in a military coup in 1981.
In 2010, five others who admitted to taking part in the assassination were hanged to death. One man died of natural causes in Zimbabwe. The other six convicts, including Majed, were at large. At least one of them is in Canada and another in the United States, officials say.
(With PTI inputs)