Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested a member of a human trafficking gang from Bishwanath upazila of Sylhet on Monday.
The arrestee, Rafiqul Islam, is an accused in several cases filed following the capsize of a boat in the Mediterranean Sea on May 9 last year, said Obain Rakhaine, assistant superintendent of police and media officer of Rab-9.
A boat carrying around 80 migrants sank in the Mediterranean Sea on May 9 last year while making an illegal voyage to Italy from Libya. At least 37 Bangladeshis died, while 15 were rescued hours after being adrift at sea.
Redwanul Islam Khokon of Majhpara in Bishwanath upazila was among the victims. His brother Rezaul Islam Raju filed a case with Bishwanath Police Station on May 16 accusing Rafiqul Islam, his son Parvez Ahmed and daughter Pinki Ananya Priya and several others.
Okil Uddin, officer-in-charge of Jalalabad Police Station, said, "Arrestee Rafiqul was handed over to the station by Rab. As CID are investigating all cases against Rafiqul, he was sent to jail via CID after appearing before a Sylhet court".
A FAMILY AWAITS JUSTICE
26-year-old Khokon, a victim of the boat capsize, dreamt of a better life. Being lured by Rafiqul and his daughter Pinki, Khokon's family managed Tk 8.5 lakh and sent him on the voyage to Italy.
After more than a year of filing the case over human trafficking, the family is still waiting for justice due to the slow progress of the case. Meanwhile, they alleged that they are being intimidated by the traffickers.
Raju, the case's complainant, said, "It took more than a year to arrest Rafiqul, who is accused in at least nine cases filed after the boat capsize, which killed my brother".
"It's a matter of shame that he and his associates were continuing to exploit people. To pressurise me, Rafiqul and his associates involved me in two cases. I got acquitted from those but we still feel intimidated by them," he said.
"All we want is justice, but we're not sure when it will be served. There is no sign of the charge sheet yet," he said.
Mizanur Rahman, investigating officer and inspector of Trafficking of Human Being (THB) division of Criminal Investigation Department, said, "Rafiqul's daughter Pinki, trafficker Enamul Haque Enam and Abdur Razzak Bhuiyan have been arrested already."
About the charge sheet, he said charges have not been pressed yet as the case is still under investigation.