CID to press charges for trafficking, not murder | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 19, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:30 AM, May 19, 2021

Killing of 26 migrants in Libya in 2019

CID to press charges for trafficking, not murder

Nearly two years after investigating the cases filed for trafficking and killing of 26 Bangladeshi migrants in Libya, the CID is mulling to submit charge sheet only for the human trafficking charges in a month, keeping the murder charges pending.

Investigators said since except for one, all Bangladeshi trafficking syndicate godfathers and members who had direct link to the killings could not be brought back home for interrogation; they made little progress in the probe into charges of murder and grievous injuries to the victims.

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"We will submit supplementary charge sheets when we will be able to complete investigation into charges of murder and grievous injuries," Criminal Investigation Department Additional Superintendent THB (trafficking in human being) AKM Akteruzzaman told The Daily Star recently.

The officer said they are expecting to submit charge sheet on human trafficking charges before the second anniversary of the gruesome murders of Bangladeshi migrants.

On May 27 in 2019, alleged human traffickers killed 30 migrant workers, including 26 Bangladeshis in Libya. The incident caused a huge public outcry at home and abroad.

The killing took place at a warehouse in the city of Mizdah near Tripoli. Twelve more Bangladeshis were also injured in the attack.

Twenty-six cases were filed by victims and their family members following the incident. Some 299 people were made accused in the first information reports of the cases.

The CID officials said human trafficking and murder charges were brought in 22 cases while only human trafficking charges were brought in three other cases.

The officials said in nine cases charge sheets have already been submitted after investigation into the human trafficking charges.

Investigators said some 11 Bangladesh nationals living in Libya and other countries played a leading role in trafficking and are linked to the murders.

Their names came up in the interrogation of the accused arrested so far and from the accounts of survivors of the shooting in Libya who were repatriated later.

They were mainly based in Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, CID investigators said.

Following a request from Bangladesh counterpart, the Interpol issued a red notice against six of them in November last year.

"We will soon request the NCB (National Central Bureau) in Dhaka to request Interpol to issue red notice against at least five other masterminds responsible for the trafficking and killings," a CID officer involved with the investigation told The Daily Star recently.

He, however, did not disclose the names of the five suspects for the sake of investigation.

"We'll be able to make progress in the murder charges after some of those directly linked with the killing could be brought back home and interrogated," said the officer wishing anonymity.

Interpol put the six human traffickers of Bangladesh in their "wanted list" on charges of deceiving job seekers and "wrongfully confining and killing" people over ransom demands.

The six under red notice of Interpol are: Jafor Ikbal (38) of Kishoreganj; Shahadat Hossain (28) of Dhaka; Minto Mia (41), Shapan (28) and Tanzirul (35) of Kishoreganj, and Molla Nazrul Islam (43) of Madaripur.

On January 14, Jafor was held in the Italian city of Cosenza, while police arrested Shahadat from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka upon his arrival from abroad, investigators said.

Additional Superintendent Akteruzzaman said they have already sent all documents to Italian police requesting to deport Jafor to Bangladesh through Interpol since Bangladesh has no extradition treaty with Italy.

According to CID officials, Italian police said their court will decide whether Jafor will be sent back to Bangladesh or will be tried in Italy.

CID Dhaka Metro is investigating 14 cases.

So far, CID have arrested 172 people in connection with the human trafficking cases from different parts of Bangladesh, said sources.

The arrested accused are mainly Bangladeshi brokers, staffers of recruiting agencies and human traffickers.

Investigators said the human trafficking syndicate members trafficked youths from different districts including Madaripur, Shariatpur, Gopalganj, Kishoreganj and Sylhet tempting them to send them to Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Greece and Cyprus.

The members of the group used to collect a one-month travel visa in Dubai for the victims.

During the investigation, the police also found that some Bangladeshis, who were trafficked, were sent illegally to Cosenza and Naples through the Mediterranean Sea by boat from Tripoli to create trust among migrants.

For this reason, the godfathers also travelled to Italy.

Before leaving Bangladesh, the victims were cheated out of a good amount of money and after landing in Libya they were forced to pay more in several phases while being held hostage.    

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