A Dhaka court has sentenced 49 Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leaders and activists, including joint secretary general Habibun Nabi Khan Sohel, information affairs secretary Azizul Bari Helal, voluntary affairs secretary Mir Sarafat Ali and former Jubo Dal president Saiful Islam Nirob.
Magistrates Ataullah and Mohammad Sheikh Sadi of the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) court delivered the verdict today, Monday. They have been sentenced in four separate cases.
With this, a total of 265 BNP leaders and activists have been sentenced in a total of 21 cases in the last two months.
With this, the number of BNP activists sentenced in the last one year rose to 299.
Earlier, BNP vice-chairman Mohammad Shahjahan, BNP chairperson’s advisor Habibur Rahman Habib, Dhaka north city BNP joint convener Abdul Alim, member of the party’s executive committee Sheikh Rabiul Alam and Jubo Dal organising secretary Ishak Sarker were sentenced to different terms by the court.
Speaking regarding this to Prothom Alo, BNP’s legal affairs secretary Kamal Ahmed said, “BNP leaders and activists are being convicted one after another to thwart our ongoing movement and to make BNP leaders ineligible for the upcoming general elections.
Accusations against BNP leaders
According to the case statement, BNP leaders and activists blasted crude bombs in front of gate-4 of the New Market to spread fear among the people on 29 January 2015. The police filed a case mentioning the names of 13 local BNP leaders and activists over the incident.
Later, following the investigation, police submitted the charge sheet against 14 BNP leaders, including information affairs secretary Azizul Bari Helal on 21 July 2015.
It said the BNP leaders and activists hurled crude bombs in front of the New Market in the capital to escalate the situation. And there is evidence of BNP leaders Habibun Nabi Khan, Azizul Bari Helal and Mir Sharafat Ali’s direct involvement in the incident.
The court took the charge sheet into cognisance and framed charges against those 14 BNP leaders and activists on 15 March 2023. The police named 20 witnesses in the case. However, only five of them were produced before the court. All of them were police officials. The first deposition of the case was recorded on 17 July this year. The fifth witness recorded the case deposition with the court on 9 November.
CMM Court magistrate Ataullah passed the verdict today. He sentenced BNP leader Habib Un Nabi Khan and 13 others to six months in prison under the section 143 (illegal rally) of the criminal code of conduct. Habibun Nabi Khan was also sentenced to one year in prison under the section 323 of criminal code of conduct.
Apart from that, the court sentenced seven BNP activists, including former Jubo Dal president Saiful Alam, to two years in prison under section 435 of the criminal code of conduct. Dhaka CMM Court magistrate Sheikh Sadi gave the verdict today, Monday. Police produced four witnesses before the court, including two policemen.
In another case filed in September, 2018 with the Shahjahanpur police station, BNP executive committee member Rafiqul Islam and 13 others were sentenced to two years and three months of imprisonment. CMM Court magistrate Ataullah passed this verdict.
Besides, Rafiqul and 13 others were sentenced to six months in prison for criminal offences under section 143 of the criminal code of conduct. Each of them was also sentenced to prison for two years as per the section 332 of the criminal code of conduct. The court issued an arrest warrant against all of them.
Lawyers of the convicted BNP leaders’ Syed Nazrul Islam, Nihar Hossain and Taherul Islam told Prothom Alo that proceedings of the trial in the cases against several BNP leaders, including the party’s joint general secretary Syed Muazzem Hossain Alal are near ending.