DHAKA: Bangladesh has granted clemency to 20 death row inmates under a presidential pardon, as they awaited execution for murdering a local leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party in 2004, officials said today.
Ten of them were released at around midnight on Monday from Dhaka Central Jail hours after the President, Mr Zillur Rahman issued the clemency, while four others were released today from the northwestern Rajshahi Central Jail, the officials said.
“The remaining six could not be released instantly from Rajshahi jail as they are faced with several others cases for which they would require bail orders from the court to be freed,” the deputy inspector general of prisons, Mr Partha Gopal Banik said.
A home ministry official said only one of the convict in the Sabbir Hossain Gama murder case was not offered clemency as he is on the run.
The 20 were activists of the Prime Minister, Ms Sheikh Hasina’s ruling Awami League who were handed down the death penalties in 2005 by a fast track Speedy Trial Tribunal.
Gama was murdered on February 7, 2004 at Naldanga sub district in Natore, while the assassins left the scene chanting slogans of outlawed ultra left Maiust Purba Banglar Communist Party.
According to reports at that time, a person identifying himself as a leader of the outlawed group called local newspaper offices and claimed that the outfit had “executed” Gama, also a nephew of the former BNP deputy minister, Ruhul Quddus Talukdar Dulu.
But Gama’s family lodged a case accusing the rival Awami League activists for the killing while the local leaders of the League called the move to be guided by a political vengeance.