An arrestee was allegedly tortured to death in Sarishabari upazila of Jamalpur early yesterday, barely within a week of the Supreme Court's upholding a High Court verdict against police torture in custody.
Family members of Hashem Ali, 35, alleged that he died from custodial torture, and demanded “policemen responsible for the killing” be brought to justice.
“My brother was murdered. Patients who saw him in hospital said he was tortured and that he was crying in pain when he was taken there,” victim's cousin Harunur Rashid told The Daily Star.
Outraged, locals laid siege to Sarishabari Police Station and demonstrated blocking the Dhaka-Sarishabari highway for nearly two hours in front of AR Jute Mills yesterday morning.
Hashem's mother Hashu Begum joined the protest and demanded punishment to those involved in the alleged torture.
Assured by the district administration of proper investigation into the incident, locals withdrew the blockade. The demonstration had caused a tailback several kilometres long.
Billal Uddin, officer-in-charge of Sarishabari Police Station, denied the torture allegation, saying Hashem attempted suicide by hanging himself from a pipe using his trousers in the bathroom of the police station.
Hashem died from his injuries several hours later, he added.
Hashem was accused in a murder case filed with Sarishabari Police Station in connection with his wife's killing. He was arrested on Sunday from his cousin's house in the capital's Gulshan area where he had been hiding, according police.
His wife Lucky Begum, 30, was found hanging from the ceiling of their house at Tariapara on April 14. An autopsy found that she was killed by strangulation, OC Billal said.
Momtaj Uddin, resident medical officer (RMO) of Sarishabari Upazila Health Complex, said Hashem was taken there by police around 4:30am yesterday in critical condition.
“I found him with weak heart beat and weak pulse, and he was not responding to pain. He died several minutes later.” the RMO said.
He added that there was a mark on the victim's throat which could be from strangulation.
The body was sent to Jamalpur General Hospital morgue for autopsy.
The county's top court on May 24 upheld a 2003 High Court verdict against arbitrary arrest on suspicion and torture of arrestees on remand.
The HC judgment was delivered following a writ petition filed by rights bodies and individuals after the tragic death of Shamim Reza Rubel, a student of Independent University, in police custody on July 23, 1998.