Oishee's sentence commuted to life
The High Court yesterday commuted the death sentence of Oishee Rahman to life imprisonment in the much-talked-about sensational case filed over killing her parents in 2013.
The court also fined her Tk 5,000 and said she would have to serve in jail for six more months if she failed to pay the sum.
The HC, however, did not specifically say how long she would have to serve in custody.
Oishee's lawyer Advocate Sujit Chatterjee told The Daily Star that his client would have to serve in jail for 30 years from the date of her landing in it (since 2013) under the relevant provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
He added Oishee would appeal before the Appellate Division against the verdict for reducing her life imprisonment.
Deputy Attorney General Zahirul Haque told this correspondent that how long Oishee would have to serve in custody would be learned after release of the verdict's full text.
The HC bench of Justice Jahangir Hossain Selim and Md Jahangir Hossain commuted her death penalty to life imprisonment, considering five “extenuating circumstances” including her mental condition and age when she killed her parents -- Mahfuzur Rahman, a police officer, and Swapna Rahman.
“The condemned prisoner [Oishee] committed the double murder without any apparent motive and was suffering from mental derailment or some sort of mental disorder, ovarian cyst and bronchial asthma. Her paternal grandmother and maternal uncle had a history of psychiatric disorder according to exhibit No 15 [Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University's medical report],” the HC said in the verdict.
“She was around 19 at that time and the occurrence took place just immediately after her attaining maturity. She has no such significant history of prior criminal activity and had willingly surrendered to police after two days of the occurrence,” the court added.
Delivering the verdict on the death reference and appeals in the case, Justice Jahangir Hossain Selim said considering social disruption, the trial court in its findings showed some sort of emotion as to how the condemned prisoner dared to kill her parents brutally by her own hands.
“There is no scope to show such emotions in determination of awarding sentence or during adjudication of justice. The court has to consider legal evidence and materials that under what circumstances the occurrence took place by her own cruel actions at the age of 19 being a female member,” the judge observed.
“Execution is not the only exemplary punishment that can erase crimes from the society. Lesser punishment may significantly prevent or reduce crimes depending on good governance at every sector of the country and awareness of the people,” he added.
He further said Oishee's father was a policeman and her mother worked with Destiny group, meaning they could not give her enough time because of their services.
By the time they realised it, her life was already ruined by addiction, he observed.
“Though death sentence has been discouraged in different counties including Australia, Canada, UK and 18 states of the USA, there is no guideline in our country for its abolition. The environment for abolishing death sentence has not yet been created in our country,” he observed.
Though the rate of education has increased in the country, population has also increased and, therefore, the tendency of committing crimes has also increased; that is why abolishing death sentence is not reasonable, he argued.
A trial court on November 12, 2015 sentenced Oishee to death for killing her parents. She later challenged the lower court verdict.
The bodies of Mahfuzur, inspector of Special Branch of police, and his wife Swapna Rahman were recovered from their Chamelibagh house in the capital on August 16, 2013.
On March 9, 2014, the police pressed charges against Oishee, her friends Johnny and Ronny and 11-year-old domestic help Sumi.
According to the charge sheet, Oishee alone killed her parents, Johnny instigated the murders and Ronny gave her shelter after the incident. Sumi was accused of assisting Oishee in hiding the bodies.