After a long battle in and out of the courtroom, Public Prosecutor Abu Abdullah Bhuiyan was finally able to ensure justice for the victims, and punishment for the perpetrators of the August 21 grenade attack.
This was not an easy fight for the veteran lawyer who had previously played a crucial role in the Ramna Batamul bomb blast case, the Kotalipara bomb recovery case, and the Dhaka Central Jail killing case.
“This was the most difficult case in my life,” Bhuiyan said, adding, “I had to depose a total of 490 witnesses in the two cases filed over the incident.”
The hearings on the cases were scheduled three days a week, and the prosecutor had to sacrifice spending time with his family for over a decade.
As most of the people charged were senior politicians, and military and police officials, Bhuiyan lived in fear of reprisal from the powerful men.
Mentioning that public prosecutors are usually provided with armed security personnel for their protection while they fight any high profile case, he said, “The government did not provide me with any security.”
Bhuiyan went on to say that fighting the high profile lawyers of these high profile suspects was also very difficult for him.
“It was very difficult for me to prove the involvement these suspects with the attack because none of them were present at the scene of the crime. The defense lawyers tried their best to mislead the court and buy time through unnecessary cross-examination.”
Advocate Bhuiyan also had a difficult time coordinating with the senior lawyers assigned to the case by the government.
At least 24 people were killed and around 300 injured in a grisly attack on an Awami League rally in front of its central office at Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital on August 21, 2004. Sheikh Hasina, the then opposition leader in parliament, narrowly escaped the attack with an ear injury.
Two cases were filed at the Motijheel police station over the incident, accusing 49 people. One of the cases was for murder and the other under the Explosive Substances Act.
After a long delay due to regime change and other issues, the re-trial of the cases begun at the Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 in March 2012.
The re-trial of the two cases started concurrently in March 2012. The court completed the trial in September 2018 and the verdict was delivered on October 10 the same year.