Top criminal Joseph's death penalty commuted

The Supreme Court yesterday commuted the death sentence of Tofayel Ahmed Joseph, one of the “top-listed terrorists of the 1990s”, to life term imprisonment for killing Freedom Party Leader Mostafizur Rahman Mostafa in 1996.

The Appellate Division of the SC also acquitted another accused Kabil Sarkar, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in the same murder case.

Mostafa was shot dead at Mohammadpur area in the capital on May 7, 1996. The following day, Mostafa's wife Rashida Parvin filed a murder case with Mohammadpur police in this connection.

Yesterday, a three-member apex court bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha delivered the verdict after hearing separate appeals filed by Joseph and Kabil challenging the HC verdict on them.

AM Aminuddin, a lawyer for Joseph and Kabil, told The Daily Star that the SC commuted the death sentence of Joseph, as he had been suffering in jail for more than 18 years and he had been in the condemned cell of Dhaka central jail for more than 10 years. Also, he was 20 years' old when the incident of murder took place.    

He also said life imprisonment means 30 years' jail sentence, as per the jail code and the period of 30 years is reduced considering the convict's good behaviour in jail.

A Dhaka court on April 25, 2004, sentenced Joseph and another convict Masud Jamadar to death and Kabil to life imprisonment. The other convicts Haris Ahmed and Anis Ahmed were also sentenced to life term imprisonment for killing Mostafa. 

Haris and Anis remain absconding.

After hearing the death reference and appeals of Joseph and Masud against the lower court verdict, the HC in September 2007 upheld the death sentence of Joseph and life imprisonment of Kabil. The HC also acquitted Masud of the murder charge.

Joseph and Kabil later filed separate appeals with the SC challenging the HC judgment on them.


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