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Two held as Hasina charges father's killers of terror links

world Updated: Oct 25, 2009 15:01 IST

Two people have been arrested as Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina accused killers of her father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, of organising a bomb attack on a lawmaker.

Mehnaz Rahman, who was detained on Saturday, is the eldest daughter of Lt. Col. Khondkar Abdur Rashid, a fugitive condemned to death in the August 1975 killing of the country's founding father. She said that her father is living in Libya with the rest of the family.

Mehnaz told investigators that her father received funds from Khaleda Zia's husband General Ziaur Rahman, later president of Bangladesh, The Daily Star said.

She has been running the Freedom Party that her father set up with other officers who have publicly acknowledged their role in the killing of Sheikh Mujib.

Police officials said Mehnaz contested the parliamentary polls in 2001 and 2008 on Freedom Party ticket, but lost.

Also arrested earlier on Thursday was Kamrul Haque Swapan, younger brother of Major (retd) Shariful Haq Dalim.

Dalim was the officer who had announced the killing of Sheikh Mujib, a score of his family members and political associates in a military-led putsch Aug 15, 1975.

Both Dalim and Rashid had been holed up abroad since their trial began in 1996. They have since been convicted in absentia and sentenced to death.

Mehnaz and Swapan were detained for their suspected links to Wednesday's bomb attack on lawyer-lawmaker Fazle Noor Taposh, the Daily Star said on Sunday.

Taposh, whose parents were bludgeoned to death during the 1975 killings, is a nephew of the prime minister.

The arrests and their linking with the attack on Taposh give a new twist to the ongoing trial of Sheikh Mujib's killers that entered the 15th day on Sunday.

Hasina, who is in Stockholm, Sweden, to attend the global climate change conference, told a gathering of Bangladeshi expatriates Friday that whoever the attackers, "they would be identified through fair investigation and brought to book immediately", United News of Bangladesh (UNB) news agency said.

"When Taposh was only three-years old, his father and mother were brutally killed by the defeated force in 1975. Taposh, after years of hard work, established himself as a barrister. But the evil force is again out to kill him," Hasina said. "What is the guilt of a kid like Taposh?"

With the arrest of Mehnaz, Dhaka police have so far detained three leaders of Freedom Party in connection with the attempt on the life of Taposh.

The investigators, however, declined to say what exactly the charges against the three are.