A historic verdict: 3 policemen get life term for custodial death

Ishtiaque Hossain Jonny. File photo

A Dhaka court today sentenced three policemen including former sub-inspector of Pallabi Police Station Jahidur Rahman to life imprisonment and two other accused to seven years' jail in the case filed over the custodial death of Ishtiaque Hossain Jonny in 2014.

Judge KM Emrul Kayesh of the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court of Dhaka passed the order in the presence of three accused out of five, reports our staff correspondent from the spot.

The court fined the three policemen Tk one lakh each, in default of which they will serve six more months in jail. It also fined two other accused Tk 20,000 each, in default of which they will serve three more months in jail.

Besides, the court asked the three police officers to pay Tk two lakh each to the plaintiff of the case as compensation.

The trio will have to pay the compensation within 14 days, otherwise they will not be able to file appeal against the verdict with the High Court.

The punishments of the fugitives will be effective from the day of their arrest or surrender.  

This is first verdict under the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act, 2013.

Judge KM Emrul Kayesh began reading the judgement copies around 2:00pm in presence of three accused out of five.

Aside from Jahidur Rahman, other accused are: former assistant sub-inspectors of Pallabi Police Station Qamruzzaman Mintu and Rashedul Islam, and their informants Sumon and Russell.

Of them, Jahid, Rashed and Sumon are now in jail while Mintu and Russell are on the run.

After conclusion of arguments -- from prosecution and defence -- Judge KM Emrul Kayesh on August 24 set the judgment date for today.

Earlier, the court recorded statements of 23 prosecution witnesses, including complainant of the case.

According to the case statement, a group of 25-26 policemen -- including SI Jahid -- raided a house during a wedding ceremony in Pallabi's Irani camp area and arrested Jonny on February 8, 2014.

Informer Sumon and two of his friends including Russell called police after Jonny slapped him for harassing women at a programme.

Police allegedly tortured Jonny at the police station.

After Jonny fell sick the next day, he was admitted at a local clinic. Later, he was transferred to Suhrawardy Hospital where doctors declared him dead.

On August 8, 2014, the victim's younger brother, Imtiaz Hossain Rocky, filed the case with the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court of Dhaka.

On February 17, 2015, Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate SM Ashikur Rahman conducted a judicial inquiry, found involvement of Jahid and the other four with the death, and submitted a judicial inquiry report to the court.

The court framed charges against the five on April 17, 2016.

After the court recorded depositions of some witnesses, the accused filed a writ petition with the High Court seeking stay on the trial proceedings at the lower court.

On February 27 last year, the HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman cleared the way for the lower court to resume trial against all accused in the murder case.


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