9 Rab men sued for torture, killing
Nine Rab men have been sued for murder by the family of a businessman who died in a hospital after being allegedly tortured in the custody of the elite force in Brahmanbaria.
The accused Rab men include Maj AZM Shakib Siddiqui, commander of crime prevention company (CPC)-3 of Rab-14.
The case was filed with a Brahmanbaria court yesterday.
Senior Judicial Magistrate Nazmun Nahar fixed Wednesday for next hearing, after advocate Khairul Anam moved the case on behalf of the victim's family. The victim is Shahnur Alam, 43.
In the case statement, his brother Mehedi Hasan alleged some Rab-14 members tortured Shahnur at the battalion's Bhairab camp in Kishoreganj.
He died at a hospital in Comilla on May 6 after being admitted there following a reference from the Brahmanbaria prison authorities.
Assistant Sub-inspector Enamul Haq of Rab-14 led the team that picked up Shahnur from his home on April 29, the case statement reads.
Seven other unnamed Rab men and two civilians have also been made accused in the case.
The case comes amid widespread criticism of the elite force over its alleged involvement in extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances, something the force has always denied.
Three of its dismissed officers are now facing abduction and murder charges in a Narayanganj court. The case involves the April 27 kidnap and the subsequent killing of seven people, including Narayanganj panel mayor Nazrul Islam and senior lawyer Chandan Sarker.
Family members alleged some Rab men killed Nazrul in exchange for Tk 6 crore from his political rival Nur Hossain and some others. The allegation led to the dismissal and then arrest of the trio.
In Brahmanbaria, Mehedi said nine plainclothes men came to their home at Bogdohor village under Nabinagar upazila around 12:30pm on April 29.
Three of them summoned Shahnur and asked for drinking water. Shahnur brought water for them but in the meantime the six others, who were a little behind, appeared on the scene and handcuffed him.
All the nine men then brought out Rab uniforms from their backpacks, put them on and then went away with Shahnur, Mehedi added.
The next day, Shahnur was handed over to Nabinagar Police Station with injury marks on his body. A court sent him to jail on May 1, police said.
As his condition worsened, the jail authorities admitted him to Brahmanbaria Sadar Hospital on May 4 and later shifted him to Comilla Modern Hospital. He died there on May 6.
"The Rab men poured hot water on my head and in my mouth and pushed two boiled eggs through my rear. They also beat me up and kicked me with gumboots," Mehedi quoted Shahnur as telling them at the hospital the day before he died.
A three-member team headed by a Comilla magistrate in its inquest report said the victim's body bore signs of severe torture, according to Mehedi.
The two civilian accused are Nazrul Islam, a manpower broker of Krishnanagar, and his accomplice Abu Taher of Nabinagar.
Mehedi claimed the Rab men picked up his brother in exchange for money from Nazrul.
In 2010, the family gave Nazrul about Tk 7 lakh to send one of its members abroad. But Nazrul failed to do it. When the family wanted the money back, he refused to oblige them.
Six months ago, Mehedi and his brothers held a meeting with Nazrul and demanded the money back. Abu Taher then filed a false case against Shahnur, said Mehedi.
Following Shahnur's death, the family went to the Nabinagar police to file a case but the cops refused to take it.
They then held a conference in the capital on May 20 where they raised the allegation of torture against the Rab members. News of the press conference was published in several national dailies the following day.
Contacted, Rab Director General Mukhlesur Rahman said the force had heard about the allegation and the case and was looking into it.
Rab Media Wing Director Habibur Rahman denied that its members tortured Shahnur.
The official said Rab men detained Shahnur following allegation that he was involved in extortion in the area.
Habibur also claimed that Shahnur was handed over to the police unhurt.
But Nabinagar police contradicted his claim.
"The accused-forwarding report that the Rab-14 officials gave us mentioned that Shahnur's body bore injury marks," Rupak Kumar Saha, officer-in-charge of Nabinagar Police Station, told The Daily Star by phone.