2010: Five for the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Add comment January 28th, 2010 Headsman

Shortly after midnight this morning — local time at Dhaka Central Jail — five officers who in 1975 assassinated Bangladesh founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (and most of his family) were hanged for the crime.

Justice so long delayed still tasted sweet to a celebratory crowd.

The 34 1/2 years were mostly passed with the killers safe under an Indemnity Act predictably granted by the coup government that profited from the murder. (Though that government wasn’t afraid to hang members of its base.)

That act was revoked after a generation’s military rule with the 1996 election of Mujib’s daughter Sheikh Hasina Wazed, who was lucky enough to be in West Germany when her family was slaughtered.

Even so, the case has had a tortuous path since through the Bangladeshi judiciary.

Once it finally reached the terminus, the government did the hemp necktie routine with dispatch just this side of seemly. Only hours after the doomed men’s last appeal was turned aside, Lt. Col. Syed Faruque Rahman, Lt. Col. Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Lt. Col. Muhiuddin Ahmed, Maj. A.K.M. Mohiuddin Ahmed, and Maj. Bazlul Huda were hanged.

Their hanging does not close the book on the Mujib assassination.

Seven other death sentences in absentia remain; six of those condemned are still alive, and at large abroad. Bangladesh is trying to get them back.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Assassins,Bangladesh,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,History,Infamous,Mass Executions,Murder,Notable for their Victims,Power,Ripped from the Headlines,Soldiers,Treason

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1976: Lt. Col. Abu Taher

4 comments July 21st, 2009 Headsman

At 4 a.m. this date in Dhaka Central Prison, Lt. Col. Abu Taher was hanged for treason.

A series of coups in the mirrored-sunglasses era of military governance shook the young state of Bangladesh:

  • The autocratic Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was toppled by a revolt of junior officers on August 15, 1975;
  • Senior brass in turn felled the ruling junta on November 3, 1975, jailing powerful officer Ziaur Rahman;
  • A quick counter-coup of junior officers — also remembered as the “sepoy mutiny”* — mounted by leftist war hero Abu Taher on November 7 put Ziaur Rahman’s hand back on the helm of state.

While November 7 is still marked in Bangladesh as National Revolution and Solidarity Day, its author got short shrift from its beneficiary.**

Abu Taher, a retired officer and a hero of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War that had detached the former East Pakistan from Islamabad, had visions of social revolution. But three coups in as many months is the sort of thing to rattle the new big man, and Zia consolidated his own power by eliminating threats to both left and right political flanks.

A mere 17 days after doing that National Revolution and Solidarity thing, the guy with the mass movement (pdf) of armed men was arrested for treason. He faced a military tribunal the following year.

Taher scorned the charges against him, but of course the fix was in.

* An allusion to colonial history.

** However, Taher’s own date of martyrdom is also still marked by his posthumous partisans.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Activists,Bangladesh,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,Famous,Hanged,History,Martyrs,Power,Revolutionaries,Soldiers,Treason,Wrongful Executions

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