Shafat, Nayem, 3 others charged
Police yesterday pressed charges against five people, including prime accused Ahmed Shafat and Nayem Ashraf, in the sensational Banani rape case.
Shafat and Nayem, who is known as Hasan Mohammad Halim in his village, were charged with raping two university students, while the three others face charges of helping them in various ways during and after the alleged incident at a city hotel on the night of March 28.
The three are Shafat's driver Billal Hossain, bodyguard Rahmat Ali and Shadman Sakif, a friend of the two victims.
All the five are now behind bars.
Shafat is the son of Dildar Hossain Selim, one of the owners of Apan Jewellers.
Inspector Ismot Ara Ame of Women Support and Investigation Division of DMP, also the investigating officer of the case, submitted the charge sheet to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court in Dhaka.
The court is expected to decide on June 19 whether it will accept the charges.
The charges against the five have been primarily proved through their confessional statements, witness accounts and circumstantial evidence, though no forensic evidence of rape was found, Ismot said in the charge sheet.
They should be brought under trial, she said.
Forensic tests, done about a month after the incident, did not find evidence of rape. Doctors said forensic evidence of rape is hard to find after that long.
During the one-month investigation, the IO recorded statements of 47 witnesses, including hotel staffers.
“We submitted the charge sheet against all the five accused named in the first information report. Two of them, Shafat and Nayem, raped the two girls while the three others assisted them,” Farida Yeasmin, deputy commissioner of Women Support Division, told The Daily Star.
“We also produced before the court all the evidence -- digital evidence, biological evidence -- that we managed to get,” she added.
The police officer said they did not find any video of the rape, but could retrieve from the phone of the accused two short clips of torturing a male friend of the victims that night.
One of the victims earlier claimed that Billal, Shafat's driver, filmed the rape.
Invited to Shafat's birthday party, the two girls went to the Banani hotel around 9:00pm.
They victims wanted to return home as they felt “uncomfortable” in that atmosphere, but the accused asked them to wait until the birthday cake was cut.
When the victims' male friend and a girl with him wanted to leave the hotel after the cake was cut, Shafat and Nayem forcibly took the key of the male friend's car and physically assaulted him and kept him confined in a room with the girl that came along with him, according to the charge sheet.
After midnight, Shafat raped the plaintiff while Nayem raped her friend in separate rooms, the charge sheet said.
The victims got acquainted with Shafat and Nayem at Picasso restaurant in the city through their friends Sakif, some 10 to 15 days before the incident.
Since their first meeting, Shafat often chatted with the plaintiff on the phone. Just a few days before the incident, he repeatedly asked her to attend his birthday party with her friends, according to the charge sheet.
Billal and Rahmat took the victims from their residence to Raintree hotel on a car that night.
The two victims went to the Banani Police Station to file a case more than a month after the incident.
But the police allegedly misbehaved with them and tried to brand them as “bad girls”. Police finally took the case on May 6, two days after the two girls reported the incident.
The revelation of the alleged rape and reported police negligence sparked a huge outcry.
After their arrests, Shafat and Nayem confessed to the crime before a magistrate court. Sakif and Billal also gave confessional statements, police and court sources said.
Yesterday however, Shafat, Nayem and Billal submitted separate petitions seeking retraction of their confessional statements, saying police tortured them in custody and forced them to give confessional statement.
The court kept the petitions with the case records.