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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

[ALOCHONA] SC terms Shafiullah coward for failing to protect the President

The Supreme Court relegated ex-army chief KM Shafiullah to a "coward general" for his failure to command his force into action for saving life of the then commander-in-chief, President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. "Shafiullah is a liar and coward general. None of the learned judges of the High Court division bench relied on his evidence.(UNB, Dhaka)

So it is redundant to point out for discussion here," the five-judge Appellate Division bench made the scathing remarks during the Bangabandhu murder case appeal hearings on Tuesday.

The highest court spat out the swinging words when his evidence as a prosecution witness came up for discussion during the hearings.

The court came down heavily on Shafiullah when Abdur Razzaque Khan, the defense counsel for condemned prisoner Lt Col (retd) Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, pointed out the evidence made by the then army chief.

Adding fuel to the flames, Razzaque quipped: "Were Shafiullah not a coward general, he would have resigned from the army as in other countries."

But he had served all the post-75 beneficiary governments of Ziaur Rahman and HM Ershad for over one and a half decades as diplomat abroad. Terming a cruel joke Shafiullah's telephonic advice to Bangabandhu, the defense counsel, however, did not hesitate to inform the court that Shafiullah, one of the sector commanders of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, "is believed to be the father of Bangladesh Army".

Referring to the crucial telephonic conversations between Bangabandhu and Shafiullah before the bloodletting carnage, the defense counsel told the court that Bangabandhu, after informing him about the attack on his Dhanmondi official residence, ordered the army chief to send in troops. But, instead, general Shafiullah asked Bangabandhu: "Can you get out of house?"

"It's a fun," the lawyer said, adding that it was very significant and the matter still remained unexplained.

"Unfortunately, none turned up to rescue the President, the supreme commander of the defense services," he told the court, trying to get the benefit of the doubt for his condemned client because of the muddled-up situation of the time surrounding the August 15, 1975 Dhanmondi tragedy.

Earlier, at the outset of his argument, Razzaque said as the prosecution witnesses made contradictory evidences about the presence of Shahriar in the night parade before the 'Operation First Light' marches towards the residence of Bangabandhu, the death sentence might be reduced to other forms on grounds of the benefit of the doubt.

About Shariar's presence in the radio station and Bangabahaban on August 15, 1975, the defense counsel admitted the fact but argued that his client's presence was on authority as he was reemployed in army on the day with retrospective effect. Shahriar's presence in radio station and Bangabhaban on the day of occurrence does not justify the act of participating in the killing of Bangabandhu, along with his family members, like the others in the military cabal, he argued.


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