Page last updated at 19:29 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Bangladesh hangs killers of independence leader Mujib

Mujibur Rahman
Mr Rahman was the father of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Bangladesh has executed five ex-army officers convicted of killing the country's independence leader in 1975.

The men killed Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the president's wife, three sons, two daughters-in-law and approximately 20 others as part of a military coup.

Only hours earlier the Bangladeshi law minister had announced that they would be executed by Sunday but could be "hanged at any moment".

The five were executed on Wednesday in the Dhaka prison where they were held.

The men did not deny their role in the death of Mr Rahman, but had said they should be tried in a military rather than a civilian court.

The Supreme Court had dismissed their appeals to commute the sentence, paving the way for a date to be set for execution, AFP reported earlier.

Mr Rahman was killed in 1975, just four years after leading Bangladesh to independence from Pakistan.

March 1971: Sheikh Mujibur announces breakaway from East Pakistan and establishment of Bangladesh
August 1975: Sheikh Mujibur is killed in a coup
November 1998: Dhaka court orders execution of 15 for his killing. Three later acquitted
Oct 2001: Trial halts after Khaleda Zia elected prime minister
August 2007: Sheikh Mujibur's murder case resumes
November 2009: Supreme Court rejects appeals by five ex-army officers accused of killing
January 2010: Supreme Court dismisses five ex-army officers' final appeals

Six fellow plotters, on the run abroad, have also been sentenced to death. A seventh man also found guilty in absentia is thought to have died abroad.

The government the majors helped install passed a law indemnifying their actions and until 1998 they were free men.

But by then Sheikh Hasina, Mr Rahman's daughter, had herself become prime minister and the accused were put on trial, found guilty and sentenced to death.

She lost the following elections, and the next government, led by the party which ultimately benefited from the coup, slowed the process down.

But Sheikh Hasina returned to power a year ago, and made the conclusion of the trial one of her top priorities.

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Al Jazeera Bangladesh hangs Mujib killers - 4 hrs ago
Calcutta Telegraph Scream of the assassin - 11 hrs ago
AFP via Yahoo! Bangladesh executes killers of leader Mujib - 16 hrs ago President's killers executed - 17 hrs ago
Economictimes Mujib's killers hanged - 24 hrs ago

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