They sought to strike terror into students | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 14, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:45 AM, November 14, 2019

They sought to strike terror into students

Charges pressed against 25 Buet students in Abrar killing case; trial to be completed in 135 days, says law minister

The accused in Buet student Abrar Fahad murder case had turned so rowdy that they often tortured general students to establish a reign of terror on the campus.

Their efforts to create terror resulted in Abrar killing, DMP Additional Commissioner Monirul Islam said as police pressed charges against 25 Buet students, mostly leaders and activists of the university’s BCL unit, in the case yesterday.

The move came 37 days after Abrar, a second year student of electrical and electronic engineering department, was beaten to death at the university’s Sher-e- Bangla Hall.

Meanwhile, Law Minister Anisul Huq yesterday said he would request the home minister to send an application to the law ministry for trying the case under the speedy trial tribunal act.

As per the act, the trial would be completed in 135 working days, he said.

Monirul said the accused wanted the general students to be scared of them, and that’s why they tormented them in the name of ragging.

They used to lead lives of “non-students”. They also abused their political identity to evade any actions against them, he said at a press conference at the DMP media centre yesterday afternoon.

Around the same time, DB Inspector Mohammad Wahiduzaman, also the investigation officer of the case, submitted the charge sheet to Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in Dhaka.

Of the 25 charge-sheeted accused, 17 were members of the Buet BCL unit. Most of them have been expelled by the pro-Awami League student body.

Buet suspended 19 of the accused.

Eleven of the 25 directly took part in the killing as they either hit Abrar with cricket stumps, skipping rope or slapped him for hours, leading to his death, according to investigators.

The 14 others abetted the killing either by instigating it or calling Abrar to the room where he was tortured or by carrying the unconscious victim to another room and finally to the staircase landing, they added.

Of the 25 charge-sheeted accused, 21 have been arrested and four are on the run.

The murder triggered a firestorm of protests on campuses across the country. Many took to social media to demand justice for Abrar.

In the face of protests, the Buet authorities banned all political activities on the campus in October.

The arrested charge-sheeted accused include Buet BCL General Secretary Mehedi Hasan Russel, Information and Research Secretary Anik Sarkar, Deputy Social Welfare Secretary Ifti Mosharraf Shokal, Organising Secretary Mehedi Hasan Robein, Sports Secretary Meftahul Islam Zion, Joint General Secretary Muhtasim Fuad, Literature Secretary Moniruzzaman Monir, Publication Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Munna, Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary Amit Saha, vice-president SM Mahmud alias Setu, and BCL members of the unit Muntasir Al Jemi, Khandaker Tabakkarul Islam Tanvir, Mujahidur Rahman, Akash Hossain, Hossain Mohammad Toha, Mujahidur Rahman, Shamim Billah, Moaz Abu Hurayra, ASM Nazmus Sadat, Mizanur Rahman alias Mizan and Shamsul Arefin Rafath.

Four accused -- the BCL unit Deputy Office Secretary Mustafa Rafid and its members Morsheduzzaman Jishan, Ehtashamul Rabbi Tanim and Morshed Amartya Islam -- are absconding.

Abrar’s father Barkatullah filed a murder case against 19 Buet students on October 7 with Chawkbazar Police Station. All of them are among the charge-sheeted accused.

Eight of the accused made confessional statements before magistrates narrating the horrifying torture. Sixty people are prosecution witnesses in the case.

DMP PRESS BRIEFING

At the briefing yesterday, Monirul also said their investigation found that the accused started torturing Abrar around 10:00pm on October 6. Doctors declared him dead about five hours later.

Abrar was tortured for a long time. His life could have been saved had he been taken to a hospital, said the police official.

Asked about the motive of the killing, Monirul said no single reason was found.

He said suspicion regarding Abrar’s involvement with Jamaat-Shibir or banned militant outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir was a reason. The accused used to beat students if they raised dissenting voice even over trivial matters or did not greet them whenever they met.

The accused also said they were not happy the way Abrar behaved with them, and it made them furious.

Monirul claimed that police submitted a flawless and objective charge sheet and hoped that the accused would get the highest punishment due to the gravity of the crime.

He further said the university and the dormitory authorities should have been more careful.

“Although this did not come up during our investigation, we think the hall authorities have some sort of failure here,” he said while replying to a query.

Replying to another query, Monirul claimed police reached the university immediately after the incident, but they were not allowed to enter the dormitory.

‘SPEEDY TRIAL OF CASE’

Law Minister Anisul Huq yesterday said the government would take necessary steps for completing the Abrar murder trial as soon as possible.

“I will request the home minister to send an application to the law ministry for trying the case under the Speedy Trial Tribunal Act, 2008. Receiving the application, the law ministry will complete the necessary procedures,” he said.

Talking to reporters at his secretariat office, he said he kept a prosecution team ready for dealing with the trial.

He also said there were some formalities for starting trial proceeding of a case under the Speedy Trial Tribunal Act. The trial court is supposed to order the fugitive accused to surrender before it within a particular period.

If the fugitive accused does not surrender, the trial will be held in their absentia, said Anisul Huq, also a criminal law expert.

He also said an advertisement would be published in the newspapers and a gazette would be issued for holding the trial in their absentia.

“The trial of Abrar murder case will be finished as soon as possible through completing all legal procedures like that of Feni’s madrasa student Nusrat Jahan Rafi murder case. It will be done as per the directive of the prime minister and based on public demand,” he added.

ROLE OF 11 DIRECTLY LINKED

According to the investigators, Robein started quizzing and slapping Abrar soon after he was taken to room number 2011 of the Buet hall.

Anik hit Abrar over 100 times with cricket stumps in two phases.

Ifti and Moniruzzaman also struck Abrar with cricket stumps. At one point, a stump broke into two pieces. Zion then hit the victim with a piece of the broken stump.

Mujahidur Rahman and Shamim Billah whipped Abrar with a skipping rope. Nazmus Sadat, Muntasir Al Jemi, Ehteshamul and Khandaker Tabakkarul Islam Tanvir slapped the victim, the investigators said.

Some of the accused told police that while they were torturing him, Abrar begged for water, but they didn’t give him a single drop.

Doctors said Abrar died of internal bleeding and excessive pain. There were injury marks all over his body, with bruises on his arms, legs and back.

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