Vol. 5 Num 149 Thu. October 21, 2004  
Front Page

Convicts term it 'politically influenced'

The convicts in the Jail Killing Case termed the judgement "politically influenced" while the acquitted said they were falsely implicated in the case.

The acquitted and their relatives embraced each other in the courtroom as the judge passed the verdict in the presence of arrested and bailed accused.

In an instant reaction, relatives and lawyers of the convicts rejected the judgement terming it an injustice. They said they would challenge the verdict in the higher court.

Relatives, friends and supporters of the acquitted, who were waiting impatiently outside the court building, shouted in joy and chanted slogans to welcome the verdict.

"I've got justice lastly," said a jovial KM Obaidur Rahman. "I was falsely implicated in the case and sent to jail for damaging my political image. But they are defeated now."

"I was put into jail for three years but now I am free. I will file case against all the people responsible for it," the ruling BNP lawmaker vowed.

He said he would talk to his counsels soon to decide on filing a case against former prime minister Sheikh Hasina, former home minister Mohammad Nasim and investigation officer in the case Abdul Kahar Akand.

Nurul Islam Manzoor, another acquitted of the case, said, "The truth always prevails and I am happy that the truth has won finally in this case."

"I would be happier if all were acquitted."

Expressing his gratitude to almighty Allah for his acquittal, former minister Shah Moazzem said, "I am happy to get justice."

"I had to suffer in jail for four long years as I fell victim to political vengeance," he said.

Major (retd) Khairuzzaman also heaved a sigh of relief at his acquittal and said, "I was in the jail for five years without justice…."By the grace of God I am free now."

Taheruddin Thakur claimed he had fallen a victim to political vengeance. "The case has ruined my family and damaged my social life."

While the acquitted blamed politics for their implication in the case, Lt Col Syed Faruk Rahman who was awarded life imprisonment in the case said, "It has nothing to do with law and justice, it's merely a political issue."

As the judge passed the verdict, Lt Col Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan shouted in protest, "How can I be awarded life imprisonment while others are freed for the statements of the same witnesses?"

"I have been awarded punishment although the charge against me could not be proved," he said in disappointment. "This is an injustice," he shouted from the prison van as he was being taken back to jail.

"Political leaders are acquitted, but army men are found guilty," Shahriar's wife Masu Ara Khana said inside the courtroom at the top of her voice. "It is political leaders who took the decision of the killings and the army personnel are victimised," she alleged.

"Those who fought for independence are punished and those who passed time in hotels in Kolkata during the Liberation War are freed," said Shahriar's brother-in-law Babul.

Sohel Mallick, lawyer of Shahriar, said, "The verdict is full of contradictions." He said the judgement proves that invisible hands were at play.

Bazlul Huda, another convict, avoided making any comment on the verdict but said, "I've been made a third-class prisoner, I have nothing to say."

"This is a mockery of justice," Lizi Pasha, wife of Aziz Pasha and sister of Huda, told The Daily Star rejecting the judgement. "We know won't get justice in Bangladesh."

Abdul Majid Munshi, counsel of Obaidur, Moazzem and Manzoor, expressed dissatisfaction at the investigation. "All the accused should have been acquitted as the conspiracy could not be proved."

Public Prosecutor Abdullah Mahmood Hassan said the verdict could be tougher had not the investigation officer neglect to perform his duty.

Asked whether the state would appeal against the verdict, he said, "Whom to appeal?"