A Narayanganj court today sentenced to death 26 persons including main accused Nur Hossain and three sacked army officers serving in RAB on deputation in the 2014 seven murder case of Narayanganj.
“They shall be hanged by neck until they are dead,” pronounced Narayanganj District and Sessions Judge Syed Enayet Hossain as most of the convicts were brought to the dock 8under heavy security vigil.
The court simultaneously sentenced nine others to different terms in jail finding their involvement in the gruesome murders which sparked a nationwide anger.
Hossain and the three ex-armed forces personnel sacked lieutenant colonel Tareque Sayeed Mohammad, major Arif Hossain, navy lieutenant commander SM Masud Rana were among those who faced the trial in person and were present in the courtroom as the verdict were delivered.
Of the total 35 convicts, 12 were tried in absentia as they are on the run to evade justice while three of them were condemned to death.
The others who were awarded death penalty were Emdadul Haque, Arif Hossain, Hira Miah, Belal Hossain, Abu Taiyab, Shihab Uddin, Purnendu Bala, Asaduzumman Nur, Mortuja Zaman Charchil, Ali Mohammad, Mizanur Rahman Dipu, Raham Ali, Abul Bashar, Selim, Sanaullah Sana, Shahjahan, Jamal Uddin, Abdul Alim, Mohiuddin Munshi, Alamin Sharif, Tajul Islam and Enamul Kabir.
According to the trial proceedings most of the convicts were junior RAB personnel as the evidence suggested Hossain, a city councilor, bribed the elite police unit to assassinate his political rival and fellow councilor Nazrul Islam.
The judgment came as the 23 accused were brought to the court from in the morning from Kashimpur Central Jail and Narayanganj jail in two phases.
Hossain and the three sacked army officers were brought from the high security correction facility of Kashimpur.
Witnesses said several of the convicts including Tarique, Arif and Rana looked unconcerned while some broke into tears.
“The verdict once again established the rule of law,” Law Minister Anisul Huq told a news briefing at his office in Dhaka.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said “this is an example that nobody could escape justice committing crimes . . . there were several influential people in this case”.
Public prosecutor Wazed Ali in his reaction expressed his satisfaction saying “the prosecution was able to prove the charges beyond any reasonable doubt”.
Advocate Sakhawat Hossain, a key counsel on the prosecution side, “we are very happy and want quick execution of the verdict”.
Slain word counselor Nazrul Islam’s wife Selina Islam Beauty too expressed relief over the verdict, hoping the apex court will upheld the judgement.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the judgement,” she added.
The judge on November 30, 2016, set today for judgement wrapping up the hearing of the trial.
Narayanganj City Corporation councilor Nazrul Islam along with his three aides and driver were kidnapped allegedly by a team of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)-11 on April 27 in 2014.
Besides, senior lawyer Chandan Sarker and his driver Ibrahim were also picked up by the same team as they witnessed the abduction of Nazrul and his associates.
Subsequently all the seven bodies were found floating in the Shitalakkhya river. Two cases were filed in this connection — one by Nazrul’s family and the other by Chandan’s family.
Later, three RAB officials — Lt Col Tareque Sayeed Mohammad, Maj Arif Hossain and Lt Commander SM Masud Rana – were sacked from the services for their alleged involvement in the abduction and killing.
Total 35 people, including prime accused Nur Hossain and three sacked RAB officials, were indicted on February 8, 2016, in the killing case. Of the accused, 12 people remained absconding till today.