A long, winding road to justice
12:00 AM, January 16, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:33 AM, January 16, 2017

A long, winding road to justice

Slain councillor Nazrul's wife, others wait anxiously as verdict on Narayanganj 7-murder today

The last two and a half years must have seemed like an eternity to Selina Islam as she has battled against all odds to get justice for her husband Narayanganj City Corporation panel mayor Nazrul Islam. 

With her fingers crossed, she is waiting for today's judgment to be delivered by a Narayanganj court in connection with the sensational seven murders in April 2014, including Nazrul's.

A day after the abduction of Nazrul and six others on April 27 of that year, Selina filed an abduction case against six people including the then NCC councillor Nur Hossain.  Later, the bodies of the victims were found floating in the Shitalakkhya river.

 

She received threats for filing the case but she didn't budge. She eventually mobilised public support and waged a movement demanding justice for the killings. Braving all fears, she turned up in court to testify. 

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, she said, "This is the day I have been waiting for. I hope all the accused will get the highest punishment, including Nur Hossain [the prime accused]."

The District and Session Judge's Court is expected to deliver the judgement this morning, said Shakhawat Hossain, a lawyer of the plaintiffs.

The court fixed the date after the completion of the defence's closing arguments in favour of 35 accused in two cases filed over the incident.

Of them, 26 are Rab men while eight others are reportedly associates of Nur Hossain.

Twenty-three, including Nur Hossain and dismissed Rab officials Lt Col Tareque Sayeed Mohammad, Maj Arif Hossain and Lt Commander MM Rana, are in jail while 12 are on the run.

Selina wants death penalty for all the accused and its quick execution.

There had been a longstanding conspiracy by Nur Hossain against her husband, and after the murder her family was threatened several times, she said.

"Yet I have not caved in to any threat or fear just to see the perpetrators get the highest punishment.

"We still do not feel safe.”

Selina filed a general diary in this regard in December last year.

Nupur Begum, wife of slain driver Jahangir Alam, who was pregnant at the time of the incident, said, "I became a widow and my child lost his father. I want justice."

Mizanur Rahman Ripon, brother of victim Moniruzzaman Swapan, said his brother was the main breadwinner of the family.

"We will not get back our brother but we will get some solace if the culprits get the highest punishment," he said.

Lawyer Shakhawat expressed the hope that the highest level of the government would not interfere in justice being delivered.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said he expects exemplary punishment of the accused in the case.

Talking to reporters at the Supreme Court, he said those who are allegedly involved in the incident had the duty to protect lives and properties of people. If they were involved in the crime, their offence is unforgivable.

HOW IT UNFOLDED

On April 27, 2014, seven people, including senior lawyer Chandan Sarker, were abducted from the Dhaka-Narayanganj Link Road.

After appearing before a Narayanganj court in a criminal case that day, Nazrul along with Moniruzzaman Swapan, Tajul Islam, Liton and his driver Jahangir Alam were returning to Dhaka in a microbus.

As they reached Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah, another microbus waylaid them and abducted them.

The next day, Nazrul's wife Selina filed a case against six people. Apart from Nur Hossain, five accused were Hasmat Ali Hasu, Hazi Yasin Mia, general secretary of Siddhirganj upazila Awami League; Aminul Islam, Anwar and Iqbal Hossain.

The five were dropped from the charge sheet.

Chandan, senior lawyer at the Narayanganj District Judge's Court, and his driver Ibrahim were killed as they happened to witness the abduction of Nazrul and his associates.

His son-in-law Bijoy Kumar Paul filed a case in this regard.

On April 30, six bodies were recovered from the river and the body of another surfaced the following day.

The murderers cut the victims' bellies and tied the bodies to sacks full of bricks before throwing them into the water. They were blindfolded, and their hands and legs were tied, according to police.

Nazrul's father-in-law alleged that Nur had given the Rab men Tk 6 crore to kill Nazrul with whom he had a long-standing political feud.

The three Rab men -- Tareque, Arif and Masud -- were withdrawn from Rab on April 29 for their alleged involvement in the abduction.

Tareque was the commanding officer of Rab-11 in Narayanganj when the abduction and killing took place. He is the son-in-law of Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya.

On May 6, 2014, the three Rab officials were forced into retirement. The High Court on May 11 ordered the government to immediately arrest them. They were arrested accordingly.

Nur fled immediately after the murders. He was detained in Kolkata, India for trespassing and possessing an illegal firearm. He was brought back to the country in November, 2015. 

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