Vol. 4 Num 193 Wed. December 10, 2003  
Front Page

Laxmipur BNP leader Nurul Islam murder case
Main accused Taher let off, 5 sentenced to death

The Speedy Trial Tribunal in Chittagong yesterday sentenced five people to death, nine to life imprisonment and two to five years in jail for their roles in the brutal killing of Laxmipur BNP leader advocate Nurul Islam in captivity.

The tribunal brought to a close the trial of 31 defendants and acquitted 15 of them in its verdict that stoked grievances among the relatives of Nurul, slaughtered and sliced into pieces on the night of September 18, 2000.

Among the acquitted are the then general secretary of Awami League's Laxmipur district unit, Abu Taher, his wife Nazma Taher and Abdul Alim, who were accused of masterminding the killing.

Nurul's wife Shaheen Rashida Islam, brothers and other relatives feel deprived of justice.

"I am not satisfied with the verdict. The persons whom almost everybody knew as the masterminds of the murder were acquitted," Rashida despaired.

According to confessionals of defendants Mehedi Hasan and Syed Nurul Azim alias Babor, armed operatives of Taher, also the then Laxmipur municipality chairman, abducted Nurul from Majupur.

Nurul, the then organising secretary of BNP's Laxmipur unit, was taken to the house of Taher blindfolded. Taher's wife assaulted the BNP leader and instructed their sons AHM Biplob and Salauddin alias Tipu to kill him after she received a phone call from her husband, they said.

Nurul was instantly roped, dragged into a bathroom and nailed down before he was hacked to death. The body -- cut into pieces and stuffed into a sack -- was dumped into the Meghna river in an incident that sparked a swell of panic in the area.

Judge M Hasan Imam read out the highlights of the 23-page judgement and gave the ruling in a packed courtroom in the presence of relatives of Nurul and 17 arrestees, including Taher, Nazma and Tipu.

In sentencing, the judge said, "On the basis of statements of Mehedi and Babor, such a conclusion cannot be reached that the other accused assembled at the residence of Abu Taher on September 18 to kill Nurul Islam."

"The prosecution undoubtedly failed to prove the allegation," the court observed.

Public Prosecutor Kamrul Islam Sajjad also admitted faults in the prosecution.

The convicts with death penalty are Biplob, Abdul Jabber nicknamed Lavu, Alamgir Hossain alias Jiku, Tanvir Haider Chowdhury alias Rinku and Ziaur Rahman alias Shipon.

Biplob, Lavu and Jiku have been evading arrest since the killing, dubbed as political.

The judge provided the convicts with scope for appealing to the higher court against the judgement in seven days from the receipt of attested copies of the verdict.

The convicts to serve life sentences are Tipu, Abdul Khaleq, Abdul Gani, Zakir Hossain, Mehedi, Nurulla, Nurul Abedin Chowdhury, Mahfuzur Rahman and Shimul Kumar Debnath. Khaleq, Gani and Zakir are on the run.

The court fined them Tk 50,000 each and ruled that 80 percent of the money would be given to Nurul's wife Shaheen Rashida Islam in compensation and the rest to be deposited to the public exchequer.

Dinesh Karmaker and Dulal Chandra Karr, sentenced to five years of rigorous imprisonment, were fined Tk 10,000 each and will have to serve another two years in jail in failure to pay the fines.

The two are escaping capture.

Abdul Alim, Anwar Sadat, Anwar Hossain, Ismail Hossain, Abul Kashem, Babor, Jasim Uddin, Ahsanul Kabir, Sumon, Jamal, Syed Mohidul Islam, Jahangir and Abdul Matin are among the acquitted.

The charges were pressed against the 31 people on July 30, 2002 and framed on November 5, 2002 after a case was filed after the incident.

The case was sent to the Speedy Trial Tribunal of Chittagong on September 3, 2003 that heard 39 of the 59 witnesses.

The family, right, of Advocate Nurul Islam, left, awaits the Speedy Trial Tribunal's verdict yesterday on the killing of the Laxmipur BNP leader in September 2000. PHOTO: STAR