January 27, 2010 / 8:37 PM / 10 years ago

Killers of Bangladesh independence leader executed

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh executed five convicted killers of independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on Wednesday, officials at a Dhaka prison said.

Mujib and most of his family were killed in 1975 in a revolt by young army officers. One of his two surviving daughters, Sheikh Hasina, is now the country’s prime minister.

The executed ex-officers were identified as Major Bazlul Huda, Lieutenant Colonel Mohiuddin Ahmed, Lieutenant Colonel Syed Faruk Rahman, Lieutenant Colonel Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan and army lancer A.K.M. Mohiuddin.

Bangladesh’s Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected appeals by the five convicted men against their death sentences, removing the last legal barrier to their execution.

Within hours, legal and government officials told reporters outside Dhaka central prison the executions had been carried out.

“The executions have pulled the curtain finally down on one of the history’s most gruesome killings,” chief state attorney Mahbube Alam said.

Six other former officers convicted in their absence were never caught and another died abroad.

The trial of Mujib’s killers began only after Hasina was first elected prime minister in 1996. The process was slow because of legal complications and came to a halt after her rival, Begum Khaleda Zia, came to power in 2001.

After assuming office for a second term in January last year, Hasina vowed to complete the trial of those accused over her father’s death as soon as possible.

She and her sister, Sheikh Rehana, survived the 1975 killings because they were abroad at the time. Their mother, three brothers and many relatives were killed.

Additional reporting by Nizam Ahmed; Editing by Andrew Dobbie

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