Jail killing case
Monday, 01 September 2008

Reaction on the verdict

The long-awaited verdict of the jail killing case is finally declared .The High Court has upheld the death sentence of one fugitive accused Resalder (Rtd) Muslemuddin and life imprisonment of eight others who are on the run and did not appeal and acquitted two fugitive death convicts and four detained former army officers - Lt Col Syed Farooque Rahman, Lt Col (Rtd) Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Maj (Rtd) Bazlul Huda and Maj (Rtd) AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed who were sentenced to life in jail. The acquitted death convicts are Dafadar Marfat Ali Shah and Dafadar Abul Hashem Mridha while the eight life term accused whose sentences have been confirmed are Lt Col Khondaker Abdur Rashid, Lt Col Shariful Haq Dalim, Lt Col (Rtd) SHMB Noor Chowdhury, Lt Col (Rtd) AM Rashed Chowdhury, Major Ahmed Sharful Hossain, Capt (Rtd) Abdul Mazed, Captain Kismat Hashem and Captain Nazmul Hossain Ansar. A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Justice Nazrul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Ataur Rahman Khan pronounced the verdict after hearing the jail killing case death reference and appeals for over 26 days.The grounds cited by the High Court for the acquittal of the accused are, the evidences given by the witnesses are inconsistent , the circumstantial evidences upon which the trial Court gave punishment to the accused are not convincing and credible, instead of original FIR two duplicate FIRs were produced with dissimilarity thereof. Bangladesh Awami League and several other political parties and the relatives of the slain national leaders have expressed disappointment at the verdict and rejected it, while those acquitted and their relatives are happy. The verdict was followed by comments and counter comments from both Chief state counsel Anisul Huq and Defence counsel Abdullah Al Mamun . Four national leaders -Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, Captain (Rtd) Mansur Ali and AHM Kamruzzamnan, who led the liberation war as leaders of the Mujibnagar Government, were killed inside the Dhaka Central Jail on 3 November, 79 days after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 15 August 1975. A day after the jail killing the then DIG prisons Abdul Awal had filed a case with Lalbagh thana in this connection. After 23 years on 15 October 1998 police submitted charge sheets in this case accusing 23 people. Of them BNP leaders KM Obaidur Rahman, Shah Moazzem Hossain, Nurul Islam Manzoor and Taheruddin Thakur and Khairuzzaman were freed on bail soon after the BNP-Jamaat coalition came to power in 2001. On 20 October 2004 the trying court sentenced three accused to death and 12 to life imprisonment. Natural justice demands that the perpetrators of such a crime must not go scot free.

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