Final justice is yet to be delivered to the family members of the then Awami League lawmaker Ahsanullah Master, who was brutally killed in 2004, as the appeals in connection with his murder case are still now pending with the apex court.
Yesterday was the 16th death anniversary of the lawmaker from Gazipur-2.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court is yet to start hearing on appeals filed against the High Court verdict in the case, although they were filed a few years ago.
The apex court did not begin it as defence counsels took deferment of the hearing at different times due to personal reasons, Additional Attorney General Momtaz Uddin Fakir told The Daily Star yesterday. The appeals have been included in the cause list of the Appellate Division in January last year for hearing.
"We [state counsels] are ready for placing arguments. We will do it when the apex court starts the case proceedings," he said. All the relevant case documents have been submitted as well, he said, adding the SC may start hearing after it reopens.
Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain, principal defence counsel of the case, couldn't be reached for comments despite repeated attempts over cellphone.
An Appellate Division bench headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain was set to start hearing of the appeals on January 7 last year, as the matters were enlisted in its cause list. But the apex court bench on that day deferred hearing till March 4 last year, as all relevant documents required for the hearing were not produced before it. The appeals were later included in the cause list.
Assailants killed Ahsanullah Master, a freedom fighter, and Omar Faruq Ratan, a student, and wounded 17 others in a staccato burst of fire on a rally of Swechchhasebak League at Noagaon near the MP's house in Tongi on May 7, 2004.
The next day, his brother filed the case against 19 people, including Nurul Islam Sarkar, a Jubo Dal leader.
On April 16, 2005, a Dhaka court handed death sentences to 22 people and life terms to six others. A decade later, On June 15, 2016, the HC confirmed death penalty of six persons, including Nurul.
It, however, commuted capital punishment of seven others to life imprisonment, upheld life term of two and acquitted 11 of charges.
Currently, five petitions challenging the HC verdict are pending with the apex court, including those by Ahsanullah's brother Motiur Rahman, the government and convicts, attorney general office sources said.
The appeals sought death penalty of all convicts, while convicts sought acquittal from all conviction and sentences.