8 BCL men to die for Bishwajit killing
13 others sentenced to life imprisonmentMuktadir Rashid and Robiul Islam
A speedy trial tribunal in Dhaka on Wednesday sentenced eight Chhatra League leaders to death and 13 others to life in prison for killing Bishwajit Kumar Das, a tailor, in Old Town of Dhaka on December 9, 2012.
‘They will be hanged by the neck until death,’ speedy trial tribunal 4 judge ABM Nizamul Haque announced in the crowded courtroom about 12:30pm.
Bishwajit, 24, was chopped to death by a group of BCL activists, who were students of Jagannath University, near Bahadur Shah Park during a countrywide blockade enforced by the opposition.
The judge sentenced 13 others to life in prison and fined Tk 20,000 each; in default, they will need to be in jail for a year more.
The court also sentenced the 13 to six months in prison each and fined them Tk 500 each for unlawful assembly; in default, they will need to be in jail for 15 days more. Both the jail sentences will be executed simultaneously.
‘The prosecution could prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt,’ the judge said.
The court said that he had considered the confessional statement of the accused, video footage, paper clippings and the deposition.
The death sentence will be automatically referred to a High Court bench that will consider the sentence and the appeals the lawyers of the eight convicts would file.
The judge on completion of the the final argument on December 4 set the verdict for Wednesday.
Of the accused sentenced to death, Rafiqul Islam Shakil, Mahfuzur Rahman Nahid, Emdadul Haque Emdad, GM Rasheduzzaman Shaon, Saiful Islam and Quaiyum Mia Tipu are in jail and Rajon Talukder and Noor-e-Alam Limon are in hiding.
Of the accused sentenced to life in prison, AHM Kibria and Golam Mostofa are in jail. Monirul Haque Pavel,
Rafiqul Islam, Md Alauddin, Obaidul Quader Tahsin, Imran Hossain, Khondoker Md Yunus Ali, Tarique Bin Zohar alias Tamal, Azizur Rahman, Al Amin Sheikh, Mosharraf Hossain and Kamrul Hasan are in hiding.
The court also issued warrant for arrest of the convicts who are absconding as part of implementing the judgement.
‘We are happy at the judgement. But we expect that the judgement is upheld by higher court,’ the victim’s brother Uttam Kumar Das said coming out of the courtroom.
‘We want an early execution of the verdict,’ he said, demanding the the government should arrest all the 13 fugitives.
After the killing, the government claimed that the accused were not activists of Chhatra League, the student wing of the ruling Awami League.
But the court in its observation said that ‘so-called Chhatra League’ leaders of Jagannath University had chopped Bishwajit that caused his death in Mitford Hospital.
The court also observed that any group enforcing general strikes or blockades and any group rejecting such agitation programme should be more cautious about protecting life and property and keeping peace.
It also said the death such as Bishwajit’s could happen again if political programmes become violent.
Detective Brach inspector Tajul Islam, also the investigation officer of the case, pressed the charges in case against the 21 Chhatra League activists on March 5.
Of them, Shakil, Nahid, Shaon and Emdad gave statements in court earlier.
After the trial had begun in June, the court cross-examined 32 out of 60 prosecution witnesses and recorded the evidences.
The defence counsel, however, claimed that justice had not been meted out.
In reaction, Kamrul Hasan Chowdhury, one of the defence counsel for Kamrul Hasan, claimed that his client was not see in photographs and video footage exhibited during the trial.
The court, however, in its observation said that
many defence counsel produced irrelevant, irrational documents to save their clients but they were ‘full of lies.’
During the trial, at least one prosecution witness was declared hostile while many others claimed being threatened.
The investigator did not identify the negligence of policemen on duty and physicians in a nearby hospital in connection with Bishwajit’s death.
The government had launched investigation against the police officers for their negligence but no serious action had been taken but for the transfer of the then Sutrapur police officer-in-charge.
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