Five get death sentence
A Chittagong court yesterday handed down death penalty to five people, including a man and his son, for killing Himadri Majumder Himu in 2012.
The five are Shah Selim Tipu, his son Junaid Ahmed Riad, Mahboob Ali Khan Danny, Zahedul Islam Shawon and Shahadat Hossain Shaju.
Shawon and Riad are on the run.
The other three convicts were present when the Chittagong Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge Court-4 pronounced the verdict.
Himu's family members, who say the 18-year-old was murdered for his anti-drug activities, have expressed satisfaction over the verdict and urged for its quick implementation.
However, the three convicts, while being taken to jail, told reporters that they were "framed" and they would go to the High Court (HC) to challenge the verdict.
Judge Nurul Islam, while reading out the verdict, said, "The convicts were given death penalty as the prosecution has proven the charges brought against them beyond any doubt."
Following approvals from the HC and the Supreme Court (SC), the verdict would be executed by hanging the convicts until their death, he said. The fugitives shall also be executed following their arrest or surrender.
However, the convicts can file an appeal with the HC challenging the verdict within seven days, added the judge.
Himu, an A-level student of Summerfield School and College in the port city, was involved with an anti-drug social organisation "Shikor".
On April 27, 2012, he was taken forcibly by Riad, Danny, Shaon and Shaju to the rooftop of a four-storey building -- Farhad Mansion owned by Tipu -- in Panchlaish Residential Area, according to the case documents.
Himu was severely beaten there and at one stage, Tipu ordered his accomplices to unleash three ferocious dogs upon him. The accused later pushed him off the building, leaving him seriously injured.
While undergoing treatment at the Chittagong Medical College Hospital, the victim described how four of the accused tortured him on Tipu's instructions. Shikor members recorded Himu's statement in mobile phones which was later submitted to the court during the trial.
Himu breathed his last at the Square Hospitals in Dhaka on May 23, 2012.
The next day, his maternal uncle Shri Prakash Das Asit filed the murder case with Panchlaish Police Station.
After the case was lodged, the investigation officer (IO) was changed twice. The charge sheet in the case was submitted to the court on October 4, 2012, accusing the five convicts. The court framed charges against them on February 3, 2014.
TRIAL HALTED SEVERAL TIMES
As per an HC order on July 16 in 2014, the case was shifted to a speedy trial tribunal in Chittagong from the Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge Court-4.
Five days later, the HC issued a six-month stay on the judicial proceedings in the case following a petition by the defence. The HC, however, vacated its stay order later on August 7.
The tribunal could not complete the trial in its stipulated 135 days as it did not hold hearings during the hartals enforced by the BNP-led alliance early last year.
So, the case was again shifted to the previous court on March 19, 2015.
As per rules, a speedy trial tribunal has to complete trial proceedings in a case in 135 days. Otherwise, the case is shifted to the previous court.
Again, the Chittagong Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge Court-4 could not resume the trial as the judge's post was vacant at that time.
Around six months later, Judge Nurul Islam issued directives to resume the trial proceedings, said Additional Public Prosecutor Anupam Chakraborty.
Himu's family has welcomed the verdict.
"I am happy. Now I expect the High Court to uphold the verdict," said Himu's father Prabir Majumder.
"They [convicts] have money and power. But now, no one like them will ever dare to kill any innocent boy like my son."
Himu's mother, Gopa Majumder, said, "When Himu was in hospital, he repeatedly asked me to save his life which I could not. Now I want the killers to be hanged without any delay."
Convict Danny said they would go to the HC to challenge the verdict.
Syed Najjam Ahmed, cousin of another convict, told The Daily Star that Shaju was not "involved" in the killing. "He is innocent," he said.