• Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy; yet feel sentence too soft

Victims' families react

Staff Correspondent
Helena Pasha, left, and Mizanur Rahman being taken to jail after their conviction yesterday. Photo: Rashed Shumon
Helena Pasha, left, and Mizanur Rahman being taken to jail after their conviction yesterday. Photo: Rashed Shumon

Just 10 years' imprisonment for the guilty seemed inadequate for the families who lost children to poisonous paracetamol syrup over 22 years ago.

They were happy that the judgement was finally delivered and their agonising wait had ended but they wished the death penalty had been awarded.

Mohiuddin, whose brother was one of the victims of the adulterated paracetamol syrup, told The Daily Star, “We are happy that the culprits got punishment at last.”

He said he would have been happier had the culprits gotten the capital punishment.

His younger brother Masud was among 10-20 children who had died at the same time after being given the paracetamol syrup from the healthcare facilities set up for employees of the Bangabhaban, the president's office.

“You know how difficult it is to punish VIPs. It is a mammoth task to even get a verdict against them,” he said.

The father of another victim not wishing to be named said, “I would have become happy if the owners of the [accused] company were hanged. Just five-10 years' imprisonment is not a big deal for influential people. They will get out of the jail.

“I am a mere fourth class employee [of Bangabhaban]. I don't want to get into trouble giving you an interview,” he said when The Daily Star requested a quote and a photo of him.

“I have nothing to say. My son died after taking paracetamol from the dispensary of this Bangabhaban. Seventeen to 18 other children of the quarters had also died,” he said.

He said he was at his village home and his wife had got the paracetamol when his son had a fever.

“My son stopped urinating from the next day and we took him to [Dhaka] Shishu Hospital where he died after around 15 days,” he said.

Even though five people were accused in the case for killing 76 children with the poisonous medicine, the actual death toll is believed to be 2,700 between 1982 and 1992 with five brands of the paracetamol syrup involved.

 

Published: 12:03 am Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Last modified: 2:59 am Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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