Sunday, November 8, 1998 Published at 09:46 GMT
World: South Asia
Death for Bangladesh coup plotters
Sheikh Mujib's home is now a museum to his memory
Fifteen people accused of assassinating Bangladesh's independence leader have been sentenced to death by firing squad.
The sentences were handed down after a two-year trial of former army officers in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.
Sheikh Mujib Rahman was killed 23 years ago, but his killing continues to have political resonance.
His supporters celebrated in the streets outside the court as the verdict was handed down.
Only five of the accused, including three of those found guilty, were present at the trial. The others were tried in their absence are thought to be in exile.
Those facing the firing squad have 90 days to launch an appeal which would go to a higher court and it could be more than a year before the sentences are carried out.
He gave a number of television and newspaper interviews after the sheikh's assassination admitting his involvement.
There has been little political reaction to the verdicts.
But the opposition Bangladesh National Party is angry at another trial due to start where three of its members are defendants.
The opposition has called for a 48-hour general strike to start on Monday to protest against the arrests.
Sheikh Mujib was the figurehead of the struggle to free Bangladesh from Pakistani rule.
After independence in 1971, he returned from jail in Pakistan a national hero.
But he used his enormous charisma to concentrate power in his own hands, creating a one party state.
His prestige waned when he was criticised over his handling of the famine, which broke out after severe floods in 1974, and when he alienated the army, his fate was sealed.
Sheikh Mujib was killed along with 21 members of his family, including his wife and 10-year old son, in a dawn attack on his Dhaka villa by more than 100 soldiers early on the morning of 15 August 1975. It was only four years after his triumphal homecoming.
It was not until his daughter, Sheikh Hasina was elected Prime Minister two years ago, that five of the army officers accused of masterminding the coup were brought to justice.
Among the many victims were the four close aides and former ministers whose deaths are the subject of the upcoming trial.
They were shot at close range in a Dhaka jail cell eight weeks after the sheikh's murder.
The main opposition party led by Khaleda Zia, whose husband President Zia was assassinated six years after Sheikh Mujib, accuses Sheikh Hasina of waging a political vendetta.